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MORE ABOUT WILD NATURE 



BY THE SAME AUTHOR. 

Wild Nature Won by Kindness. 

Third and Cheaper Edition, paper, Is. 

" Mrs. Brightweii has written some pleasant and very 
interesting sketches of the habits of various pets which she 
has made. . . . The book is one which may be warmly 
recommended for the simplicity with which it is written and 
the power of observation which it displays." — Aihenceiim. 



London : T. FISHER UNWTN. 





'A^^^O 



MORE ABOUT 

WILD NATURE 



MRS. BRIGHTWEN 

Author of " Wild Nature Won by Kindness' 



WITH ILLUSTRATIONS BV THE AUTHOR 



SECOND EDITION 



T. FISHER UNWIN 

PATERNOSTER SQUARE 

MDCCCX'CIir 



1 *n^ 



Professor Sir WILLIAM HENRY FLOWER, K.C.B., 
F.R.S., Etc. 



Dear Sir William Flower, — 

Some of the most delightful hours of my life have been 
those which it has been my privilege to spend in the enjoyment of the 
vast collections over which you preside. 

But my capacity for enjoying these public treasures has in no small 
degree been enhanced by the stimulus which your conversation has 
given to my study of Nature whenever I have had the advantage of 
hearing you speak of them in private. 

Is it asking too much, then, if I venture to beg you to accept the 
dedication of a little volume which desires to follow, at however great a 
distance, in the footsteps of the leaders of science ? 
Pray believe me to be 

Yours very faithfully,- 

ELIZA BRIGHTWEN. 



20P0968 




PREFACE. 



HEN I put forth, with much diffidence 




%^S'^^i^ account of my adventures with my 
/!^ '^^ favourite animals and birds, I little 
^#^ dreamed of the kind reception which it was 
destined to meet with from the critics and from 
the general public. That several thousand copies 
of "Wild Nature Won by Kindness" would be 
sold within the first twelve months of publica- 
tion was not within my most sanguine anticipa- 
tions. 



X PREFACE. 

Such a success, however, has been all the more 
gratifying because it was so entirely unexpected, 
and I take it to prove not any peculiar merit in 
my little series of narratives, but rather the depth 
of that love of animated nature which is engrained 
in English hearts. 

That the genuine instinct of all normal English 
men and women is one of humanity towards dumb 
creatures is my firm conviction. Where cruelty is 
shown I would fain believe that more than half of 
it arises from ignorance rather than deliberate 
intention, and, if it be so, then such simple books 
as mine may not be without a direct service to 
others. 

They tend, I hope, to induce, by an intimate 
study of the lives of animals and birds, such a 
knowledge as can only be attained by the personal 
care of pets. When w^e discover in the creation 
around us such tender traits of reciprocal love and 
devotion, as the unselfishness of maternal affection, 
or as those almost human forms of generosity 
which we observe in birds and animals, it must 
be a hard heart indeed that is not melted into 
kindly feeling towards wild creatures in which 



PREFACE. xi 

these qualities of something very like soul are 
found. 

We little know how often, in their speechless 
way, the living creatures around us appeal for our 
help and sympathy, and do not obtain it simply 
because we lack the tender faith of the pious St. 
Francis of Assisi, whose creed it was that all 
created things are our dumb brethren and sisters. 

There are comparatively few, it may be, who 
enjoy my uninterrupted opportunities of keeping 
and studying wild creatures at home. I am 
therefore not without a hope that I may be able 
to offer to those who live in towns, or who are in 
other ways hindered from the free study of natural 
history, certain fresh items of information which 
may be of interest to them. In the desire, then, 
that the following pages may tend to lift still 
further the veil which divides us from the kingdom 
of fur and feathers, and so increase the circle of 
students and lovers of pet creatures, I send forth 
this second volume to the many unknown friends 
which the first secured me, thanking them at the 
same time most sincerely for their great kindness 
and indulgence. 



xii PREFACE. 

j\Iy cordial acknowledgments are due to Mr. 
Theo. Carreras for the artistic and admirable way 
in which he has re-drawn my own rough sketches 
for several of the illustrations in this book. 

I may mention that several of the later chapters, 
i.e., those on " Home Museums " and " Books of 
Feathers," have already appeared in the Selborne 
Society's Magazine. 

ELIZA BRIGHTWEN. 



S^yV^- 





CONTENTS, 



DEDICATION . . . . 

PREFACE .... 

INDOOR PETS. 
KATIE THE SHREW 
POLLY AND RUBY 

MUNGO THE ICHNEUMON. {Plates) 
IMPEY THE BAT. [Plate) 
JOEY THE KESTREL. {Plates) . 
SYLVIA THE VVOODMOUSE 
PIXIE AND PASTOR 



PAGE 

, vii. 



5 
ir 

23 

37 
47 
58 
61 



xiv CONTENTS. 

INMATES OF THE GROVE. 

PAGE 

HIGHLAND KYLOES. {Plate) . . . '72, 

SHAGGY BRAY. {Plate) . . . . . 8o 

FOXES . . . . . . . 94 

SQUIRRELS ...... lOO 

HUNGRY BIRDS. ..... I03 

FOOTPRINTS IN THE SNOW. {Footprints) . . IIO 

RECORDING IMPRESSIONS. 

IMPRESSIONS OF NATURE . . . . I29 

A BEECH WOOD. {Plate) . . . . .137 

LAMORNA VALLEY ..... I44 

THOUGHTS AT MY LAKE. {Plates) . . . 1 50 

WHY SIMPLE THINGS GIVE PLEASURE. (Plate) . 1 66 

DAME NATURE . . . • • .173 

HOME RECREATIONS. 

HOME RECREATIONS ..... 179 

1. HOME MUSEUMS. {Plate) . . .185 

2. „ „ .... 200 
OBJECT LESSONS IN MUSEUM MAKING . . . 2IO 
BOOKS OF FEATHERS. {Plates) . . . 224 

1. STUDYING INSECTS. {Plates) , . . 236 

2. 253 




LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS. 



PORTRAIT 

THE GROVE 

ICHNEUMON ATTACKING COBRA 

MUNGO .... 

IMPEY THE BAT 

JOEY THE KESTREL 

JOEY FIGHTING THE TABLE-LEG 

MY HIGHLAND KYLOES . 

SHAGGY BRAY 

FOOTPRINTS 

MOLE FURROW IN THE SNOW 



PAGE 

Frontispiece 

2 
22 

36 
. 46 

52 
• 72 

81 

. Ill 

TI7 



XVI 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS. 



MOUSE TUNNEL IN THE SNOW 
THE YEW MOUND AT THE GROVE 
THE GROVE ... 
TREE REFLECTIONS AT THE LAKE 
THE CHALET AT THE LAKE 
SUNSET VIEW AT THE LAKE . 

SPIDER'S NEST 

THE GROVE MUSEUM 

EAGLE OWL FEATHERS 

PEACOCK FEATHERS. 

WATER INSECTS 

DIVING-BELL SPIDERS . 



P.\GE 

121 
. 136 

150 
. 151 

. 163 

167 
. 184 

225 

. 230 

244 

. 252 




INDOOR PETS. 




KATIE THE SHREW. 




{So rex Vulgaris.) 

FTER my experience with the water 
shrews ^ the desire seized me to know 
something of the Hfe and habits of the 
smaller species — the common land 
shrew, which is so often picked up dead, 
and comparatively so seldom seen alive. From all 
I could learn, it seemed to be a little animal difficult 
to keep in health, not much being known about 
its diet. When in past years I had tried keeping 
land shrews, no amount of care would prevent their 
dying within a few hours of their capture. 

' See " Wild Nature Won by Kindness," pp. 121-125. 



6 KATIE THE SHREW. 

Shrews are very pugnacious, and possibly those 
specimens had been ah-eady injured in fighting 
with each other. At last a healthy little shrew 
was secured, and I did my best to prepare a com- 
fortable home for it in a glass globe. That I find 
to be quite the best kind of receptacle for small 
rodents, far better than any wire cage, as they 
cannot climb up or leap out, and as they do not 
injure their little noses by incessantly pressing 
against the bars, which is apt to wear off the skin 
and make them look miserable. I put dry earth 
into the globe as a foundation, a night-light glass 
to hold water, a handful of dry grass and some 
cotton-wool, and then the little mousie was put 
in to survey the premises. 

Shakespeare seemed to suggest the most appro- 
priate name for the shrew I proposed to tame, so 
she was called Katie, and she has learned to know 
her name and appear in answer to it. 

Ilcr first business was to make a nest, at which 
she laboured furiously, as if it must be done within 
a given time. She took mouthfuls of the dry 
grass, and weaving it together with the cotton- 
wool, formed a dome-shaped hut like a wren's 



KATIE THE SHREW. 7 

nest, with three openings, one for ingress, one for 
egress, and one towards her water supply. Then 
she constructed Httle runs or covered ways in and 
out of the rest of the bedding material, and, by the 
second day, her domain was all in order, and she 
seemed quite reconciled to her captivity. 

I find she is one of nature's useful scavengers, 
for her favourite diet is any dead bird or animal 
that can be found for her. 

A sparrow killed itself against the window, and 
wishing to see what Katie would do with it, I put 
it into her globe. Next morning it was not to be 
seen, she had scooped out the earth underneath 
it after the manner of the burying beetles, and then 
had strewn loose grass over the bird so as to hide 
her prey, and enable her in secret to enjoy the 
feast it afforded. Soon afterwards a dead field-mouse 
was found and given to her. I am sorry to say 
she welcomed her deceased cousin, and devoured 
him with evident delight. A full-grown mouse 
will barely supply enough food for Katie for four 
and twenty hours, for by that time all the flesh 
and most of the bones will have disappeared, only 
tlie skin, paws, tail, and part of the skull being left. 



8 KATIE THE SHREW. 

The little cannibal is then on the rampage, and 
like Oliver Twist, " looking for more." 

I am often amused at the offerings of dead mice 
from pantry and garden which are presented at 
Katie's shrine. When this provision fails a fowl's 
head or a small piece of under- done game has to 
be substituted. 

Common earthworms, bluebottle flies, meal- 
worms, and especially slugs are staple articles of 
food, so there is no difficulty in feeding the little 
animal, provided enough food is supplied. The 
shrew is very voracious, and I imagine that, like 
the mole, it quickly dies if its stores run short. I 
believe this may account for the numbers found dead 
in the month of August, when the hard, parched 
ground fails to yield suitable food for the shrews. 

I constantly marvel at the amount of vigour 
this furry mite displays. When I call her by her 
name, the family mansion in which Katie resides 
begins to heave up and down, and out she rushes 
in great excitement, her little mobile snout up- 
raised and sniffing in all directions to find out 
what has happened ; then she darts about her 
runs, on to the roof of her nest, in and out until 



KATIE THE SHREW. 9 

she finds the offered dainty, wliich she will take 
from my fingers and then rush off to hide it until 
it is wanted. 

I gave the little creature an empty match box 
as a sort of summer-house, but so minute is she 
that two or three such shrews could easily find room 
in the box. It is kept as a sort of larder; when 
I look in it sometimes I find a choice collection 
of mealworms, flies, and bits of meat, which she has 
stored there, I suppose, in order to become gamey. 

The shrew has a most irascible temper, every 
action shows it. It snatches its food, tears about 
at full speed, does everything in a tremendous 
hurry, and I tremble to think what would happen 
if I were to put another shrew into the globe. 
The struggle would be short and sharp, a decided 
case of " pistols for two and coffee for one " 1 for 
most assuredly only one would survive the conflict. 
Still the little creatures are remarkably interesting 
if only for their prodigious amount of vitality, their 
usefulness in ridding us of decaying matter, and 
the secret life they live, for, although very few people 
ever see them alive or even know of their existence, 
yet they do exist in every hedgerow in the country, 



lo KATIE THE SHREW. 

and are carrying on their beneficent work all un- 
known to us, thus affording another glimpse of the 
marvellous way in which things great and small 
are fulfilling the purposes of the great Creatofc 





POLLY AND RUBY. 

S I recall my lifelong experience with 
bird pets, I think of one that was very 
dear to me in early youth. 

He was a remarkably handsome 
parrot with brilliant green, red, and }'ellovv 
feathers, and eyes of the brightest orange. Polly 
had been a great pet on board the ship in which 
he came from India, and when he was allowed out 
of his cage he would climb about the rigging as 
cleverly as any sailor, and was a universal favourite. 
One day when the captain was taking a noonday 




1 2 POLL Y AND R UB V. 

nap in his cabin, Polly crept in. Seeing a watch 
and chain on the table he was irresistibly attracted 
to them, and with his powerful beak he set to work 
upon the chain. When the captain awoke from 
his siesta he found all the links undone, his chain 
was a heap of fragments, and there sat Polly 
crowing in high glee at his successful bit of 
mischief. 

When any one entered the room where our pet 
was kept he always greeted them with, " And are 
you come " ? " Scratch a poll, Polly ; " and down 
would go his pretty green head to be stroked and 
caressed, a soothing process of which he never 
seemed to tire. 

When I was a little girl I used to rise at six 
o'clock, and taking Polly on my wrist away I went 
bridle in hand out into the fields, where my pet 
donkey would come to meet me. The bridle 
would be soon adjusted, and " we two," Polly and 
I, enjoy our early canter through the dewy grass. 
I needed no saddle, from long practice I had 
learnt to ride securely sitting sideways and holding 
a lock of Shaggy's woolly coat. Feeling the fresh 
breeze and drinking in the thousand delicious 



POLL V A ND R UB V. 1 3 

odours of spring and summer I tasted the purest 
enjo}-ment possible to one so open as myself to 
all nature's delights. 

The tiny feet of the donkey made no sound 
on the grass, so I could watch the habits of wild 
creatures to great advantage. For instance, in 
skirting the banks of the river Mole, which ran 
through our fields, I used to see kingfishers perched 
on branches close to the water with eyes intent 
upon their finny prey ; the brown water-rats sitting 
up like little kangaroos cleaning their fur; a water- 
hen with stealthy tread picking her way amongst 
the reeds. All these were charming glimpses into 
wild nature. With equal facility I could study the 
habits and ways of birds on land. Their various 
songs, the food they each liked, their nesting 
places, all were silently noted, and the life histories 
of special birds could be thus watched day by day. 
After his ride Polly would be placed on a tall 
tulip tree where he loved to sit all day, occa- 
sionally calling out to the astonishment of passers 
by, " Poll the king's trumpeter, root-ti-too-too-too," 
and then laughing in a most infectious way if he 
succeeded in attracting attention. 



14 POLL Y AND R UB V. 

One day he climbed to the very top of the tree 
quite out of reach, a heavy rain came on and 
soaked his feathers, but with undaunted spirit he 
talked, laughed, and shouted with pleasure ; it was 
not till evening that he made his descent, and then 
it was a very disreputable looking bunch of 
draggled plumes that represented our usually gay- 
coloured parrot. 

Amongst other pets we had a clever little Scotch 
terrier, between whom and the parrot a bitter feud 
existed. Polly, however, could hold his own, as 
was proved one day on the lawn. The terrier made 
a rush at the bird, but Polly quietly threw himself 
on his back, and whichever way the dog tried to 
attack him, his strong talons and beak were in full 
play, and he remained thus on the defensive, 
shrieking with all his might until help arrived. 
The beak, aforesaid, was a terrible weapon of 
defence ; I bear to this day the mark of one of his 
bites, and to gentlemen his dislike was so great 
that it was not safe to have him at liberty in their 
presence. Poor old Polly ! it is imkind to speak 
ill of the dead. After a happy life of nearly forty 
years in our family he drooped and died, and all 



rOLL V AND 7^ UB Y. 1 5 

tliat remains of him besides these old memories, is 
a glowing page of his lovely plumage in one of my 
feather-books. 

This parrot was an instance of a bird already 
tamed before we possessed him, but of late years I 
have delighted in winning the hearts of absolutely 
wild birds, and inducing them to come in and live 
with mc at intervals through the day. It takes time 
and patience to do this and mealworms are also 
indispensable, for at first one must win wild birds 
through their appetites, and there is hardly an Eng- 
lish insect-eating bird that can resist a lively meal- 
worm ! Robins are quite the easiest birds to tame, 
for, when the days become chilly in autumn, they 
will come in at the windows. If any tempting 
food is gently thrown near him, a robin soon learns 
that he is welcome, and will remain for hours quietly 
investigating all the furniture in the room, regaling 
one with a sweet, low song, and sometimes having 
a fight in the looking-glass with his own reflection. 
One of these confiding little birds sometimes sits 
on m}' inkstand gazing at me with his large black 
eyes whilst I am writing. I often wish I could 
divine w hat ideas are passing through his birdish 



i6 POLLY AND RUBY. 

brain, what views he takes of life in general, and of 
me in particular. He has a very expressive 
language of his own, he tells me when he is hungry 
by coming close to my chair and even singing his 
petition for bread or mealworms ; if he wishes the 
window opened he gives me no peace until I attend 
to his behests ; and when anything bright and 
glittering is brought into the room, his careful 
investigation shows how strongly curiosity is 
developed in birds. 

The innate character of birds can only be thus 
studied when, by long-continued kindness, they 
learn to feel at ease with you, and, as it were, take 
for granted that you will understand what they 
desire. 

I often wish young people who possess pets 
would care less for caging and keeping a hand- 
some bird, and give more thought to bringing out 
its mental powers, and making it perfectly happy 
in its captivity. 

I might illustrate what I mean in the history of 
Ruby, a tiny redpole I once possessed. 

I saw in an advertisement that a redpole, that 
had been trained to draw up its water, was to be 



POLL V A A'D K UDY. 17 

had for a few shillings. I sent for it, and Ruby 
came nearly a hundred miles by railway to our 
station, where I drove to meet him. I found that 
he was attached by a small chain to a circular 
piece of wood, and through a small hole a tiny 
bucket fell into a glass of water, and when Ruby 
desired to drink he had to take hold of the chain 
of the bucket and pull it up link by link till he 
obtained his drink of water. He was a plucky little 
bird, and did his best to look bright and cheery 
under trying circumstances, but I could see he was 
in bodily distress, and after two days I determined 
to release him from his bondage. Taking the 
feathered mite carefully in my hand, I found on 
examination that there were two bands of tape 
fastened round his body and to these the chain was 
attached. It must have been a wretched life for a 
bird to wear such shackles, and I confess it was 
with great pleasure that I released Ruby from his 
bonds. 

When I had placed him in a comfortable cage 
with plenty of food and water, I knew life must be 
a different thing to him. He would soon have for- 
gotten his little trick of drawing up water had I 



1 8 POLLY AND RUBY. 

not arranged the bucket in his cage so that when I 
filled it with hempseeds he could draw them up for 
his own pleasure, and this accomplishment was 
often shown to my friends. 

In the next cage on the table lived a hen canary, 
who was a constant source of interest to Ruby. 
When I opened his cage-door he would directly 
fly to the top of her cage and gaze admiringly at 
her through the bars. 

Very soon both cages were opened and the 
different characters of the two birds afforded us 
much amusement. 

The canary snubbed her tiny lover most persis- 
tently, but he would never take " no " for an answer, 
and at last in order to see what they would do I 
provided a breeding cage, and the rather incon- 
gruous pair began housekeeping together. I 
supplied fine hair, pink and white cotton wool and 
moss, and with many twitterings and confabulations 
the nest was begun. It was the canary's first 
attempt and, determining to do the thing 
thoroughly, she built a perfect tower of Babel ! I 
never saw such a nest before or since, it reached 
from the bottom of the nest box to the top of the 



rOLL V AND RUB V. 19 

cacje, barely leaving room for the little lady to sit 
on the summit of the pink and white erection. 
Then five little eggs appeared and the sitting 
began. It was very pretty to see Ruby at night 
nestling up to his mate, for he was so small there 
was room for them both upon the nest, and by this 
time his little yellow lady-love treated him with 
kindness, though never with the love that he 
lavished upon her. Twdce over the pretty little 
drama was enacted, but never an egg was hatched. 
1 was truly sorry for the disappointment of the 
patient builders, who deserved a better fate. 

A few months later I added a very rich-coloured 
hen canary to my collection, and, finding they 
agreed together, I let her live with Ruby and his 
mate ; but, sad to say, he transferred his affections 
to the new bird and would, henceforth, only sit by 
her side, while the discarded wife was "out in the 
cold " on another perch. This w^as too cruel to be 
allowed, so the wife was given a cage to herself and 
placed elsewhere. That she was relieved and 
happy was proved by her becoming quite a charm- 
ing singer, full of life and always ready with an 
answering chirp when spolccn to. Now, in the 

3 



20 



POLLY AND RUBY. 



case of these birds how much character was 
shown ! 

To some people it may seem the height of 
triviah'ty thus to record the doings of two little 
feathered fowl, but if young people are encouraged 
to take notice of small details, that valuable habit 
of patient close observation will be developed, 
which is one of the foundations of greatness in 
whatever occupation may be taken up in after life. 





ICHNKl'MOX ATTACKING COBRA. 




MUNGO THE ICHNEUMON. 



{Herpes tes Ichneumon.) 

^iiwJ''^' THINK this paper micrht very well 
^^A IK/,4 have been entitled "The sorrows of a 
^%^^M.' ^^'^y afflicted with a mongoose ! " 
^rl ^^ ^"^^^ there was an animal calculated 

^^ to create anxiety and keep all one's powers 
of mind and body on the alert to circumvent its 
mischievous propensities, that creature is certainly 
the mongoose or ichneumon. 

I must relate how an animal of this kind canie 
into my possession. 



24 MUNGO THE ICHNEUMON. 

A relative of mine in India wrote to me to say 
that he had sent off a mongoose in the care of an 
officer on board a steamer which would arrive by a 
certain date. 

The animal had been perfectly tamed and I was 
told it would never bite or misbehave in anyway, 
and was a most amusing little creature. 

In due time the ship arrived, and I sent a special 
messenger to the Tilbury Docks so that there 
should be no detention on the way here. 

Mungo did not arrive until late, so his cage was 
placed in the conservatory for the night. Next 
morning early I visited him, and on opening the 
door of the cage out walked a curious grey-furred 
animal something like a large ferret with a splendid 
bushy tail tapering to a point. In a quiet gentle 
way the little creature began to make friends by 
creeping into my lap and from there up to m}- 
shoulder ; it seemed to have no desire to run away, 
and only sniffed about to find out what its new 
surroundings were like. After Mungo had enjoyed 
a good meal of cooked meat and milk, I took off 
his heavy chain that he might roam about the 
room where he pleased. For a little while all went 



MUNGO THE ICHNEUMON. 25 

well, but my friend was able to spring up to 
various cabinets on whicli were all kinds of curios — 
Wedgwood vases, &c., and I soon found these were 
in imminent peril. Over went a china flower-pot in 
no time, and the crash it made was so alarming to 
my agile pet that, in springing about, a few more 
knick-knacks went down. I had what would be 
called " a lively time " for the next few minutes 
until I had Mungo safely in my lap with the chain 
on his collar again. There was nothing for it but 
to put the little beastie into his travelling cage 
again until I could devise some safe way of keeping 
him. I happened to possess a wooden cottage- 
shaped abode with a wire front which was once 
inhabited by an owl, and in this my new pet lived 
for two months, and how full of adventures those 
months were I will try to relate. 

Of course the little animal must have exercise 
every day, and I thought nothing would be easier 
than to chain him to a tree stem in the garden, where 
on fine days he would enjoy fresh air and sunshine. 
He was chained up and left to his own devices, 
but very soon there was a hue and cry, " Mungo is 
loose." Alas ! how well I got to know that sound ! 



26 MUNGO THE ICHNEUMON. 

Happily he always came straight into one of 
the rooms, so that we did not fear losing him, but 
he soon set to work to upset every moveable thing, 
and again his liberty had to be curtailed. One 
day the pet was fastened outside the drawing-room 
French window. It seemed just the place to suit 
him, as he would have our society, without which 
he was always restless, and yet be ia the fresh air, 
and I fondly hoped it was a place where he could 
do no mischief. I was called away for a short time 
only to find, with dismay, on my return, that the 
turf was hopelessly ruined, the gravel scratched 
up, while the irrepressible Mungo was sitting 
amongst the debris with such a comical air of 
innocence one could only laugh at him and send 
for the gardener and fresh turf to repair the damage, 
whilst I took the little sinner back to his cage. I 
once tethered my charge to one of the lower 
branches of a Deodar on the lawn where he could 
scratch up fir-needles and do anything he liked. I 
did think this was the right place at last and that 
nothing could go wrong there. In ten minutes 
time he came trotting into the room without his 
collar and began a lively frolic which meant the 



MUNGO THE ICHNEUMON. 27 

usual destruction to glass and china. I went for 
his col'ar and found the string attached to it woven 
in and out of the branches, tied into endless knots, 
and the collar hanging in mid air where the poor 



"?:>. 







little animal must have been suspended until he 
struggled sufficiently to get his head released. The 
worst trouble of all was when Mungo so gnawed the 
wooden bars of his cage that the wires became 



28 MUNCO THE ICHNEUMON. 

loose and it would no longer keep him in safety, 
then indeed I began to wonder what was to be 
done with such an active creature. If we could be 
sure he would not slip his collar he might have 
been tied up to a little dog-kennel, but although the 
collar was as tight as he could well bear it, yet with 
a dexterous twist of his lithe little head he could at 
any time set himself at liberty. A strong cage of 
some sort was therefore a necessity. In my per- 
plexity I took Mungo with me to the home farm 
that I might there obtain a box of some kind in 
which he might be kept in the meantime. 

A very comical scene was enacted in the poultry 
yard. Some fifty or sixty fowls came trooping up 
and gathered round us in a circle expressing with 
varied duckings their intense astonishment at the 
appearance of the little animal standing by my 
side. They might well be afraid, for they were 
gazing at a very determined enemy of their race, 
who would commit sad havoc in a poultry-yard if 
he ever had access to it. 

One could fancy the cocks were saying to their 
dutiful wives, " My dears, pray be careful, I never 
saw such an awful animal before, and there is no 



MUNGO THE ICHNEUMON. 29 

knowing what he will do." And just as, with out- 
stretched necks, these notes of alarm were being 
sounded, Mungo made a spring forward and away 
went the entire flock of scared poultry helter- 
skelter till not one could be seen, the bravery of 
the cocks not being proof against such an unwonted 
apparition. 

It is only fair to mention some of Mungo's 
brighter qualities. Such an absolutely good- 
tempered little animal I never met with before. 
He will, it is true, pretend to bite and take your 
finger in his mouth, but he is gentleness itself ; 
like a playful kitten he will spring about, roll 
himself into a ball (his little head and bright eyes 
peering out from between his hind legs in the most 
comical manner), and put himself into a variety of 
graceful attitudes, a very emblem of fun and 
frolic. 

A long tub-shaped basket is his great delight, he 
will get inside and roll over and over, playing 
with it by the hour together. The only sound the 
little animal makes is a low growl when he sees 
any small living thing, such as a mouse a frog or 
e\en an earwig. He was making a great fuss one 



30 



MUNGO THE ICHNEUMON. 



day, pawing something on the ground, with his 
long hair standing on end, and when I went to see 
what his quarry could be, it proved to be nothing 
more than a wandering mealworm. My poor old 
pet toad had a narrow escape from a tragical end, 
for Mungo slipped his collar one morning in the 
conservatory, and in a few minutes there he was 




MUNGO. 



carrying Sancho in his mouth ! Happily the toad 
was rescued in time to save any harm being done 
to his corpulent little body. 

As winter came on it was rather a problem 
how to secure a sufficiently warm place for an 
animal accustomed to a tropical climate. At 
last the difficulty was solved by letting Mungo 



MUNGO THE ICHNEUMON. 31 

He in a small round basket lined with a grey 
wool mat near the drawing-room fire, and to 
secure the ornaments from destruction a little 
tether attached to a heavy stone keeps the lively 
pet within bounds, and of course he is allowed 
sundry times of exercise during the day. 

The long hair of the mongoose is barred 
alternately white and brown, which give a speckled 
effect to the coat, and somewhat reminds one of 
the colouring of a guinea-fowl. The body is thirteen 
inches in length, and the tail, which is very thickly 
clothed with long hair and tapers to a fine point, 
measures fully fourteen inches. When the animal 
feels cold it has the power of erecting every hair 
at right angles with its body and it then greatly 
resembles a small porcupine. 

The entire absence of odour, its cleanly habits 
and docility when carefully trained, and its charm- 
ing playfulness tend to make the ichneumon a 
very attractive pet. 

The Egyptian species is much larger than the 
Indian, measuring about three feet from the head 
to the tip of the tail. The Greek name ichneumon, 
which signifies "tracker" or "hunter," was evidently 



32 MUNGO THE ICHNEUMON. 

given to the animal on account of its exploring and 
inquisitive habits. 

The generic term Herpestes denotes a "creeper," 
and both names are truly descriptive of the 
characteristics of the animal. (Mongoose is simply 
the Indian name, mongoos pronounced in English 
fashion.) It is impossible, for instance, to take 
Mungo for a walk in the garden ; he will follow up 
every scent by the way, peer into every little 
crevice, sniff with keenest interest at a mouse-hole, 
until at last I get out of patience and put him on 
my shoulder for the remainder of my ramble. 

Somehow he seems to have a great dread of 
being taken away from the house, for the moment 
he is released at some distance off he immediately 
" makes tracks " at full speed to get back to his 
favourite basket by the fire-side. 

The great use of this animal in India and else- 
where is to clear the houses and compounds of 
snakes, rats, and mice. By nature the little creature 
is as fierce as a tiger, even my specimen when 
caught in the jungle at four months old, bit the 
native who captured him pretty severely when he 
tried to lay hold of him, and Mungo only became 



MUNGO THE ICHNEUMON. 33 

the gentle creature he now is, after months of 
patient care and kindness. 

In a volume of the CJiiircJiniaiis Family Magazine 
for 1864, there is an account of a fight between a 
mongoose and a cobra which was carefully watched 
by three officers stationed at Trichinopoly. The\' 
took notes of the encounter, which lasted nearly an 
hour. The cobra was three feet long, and therefore 
no mean antagonist. The mongoose approached 
the snake with caution but without fear. The 
cobra, with head erect and body vibrating, watched 
his opponent with evident signs of being aware of 
the deadly nature of his enemy, and at last struck 
suddenly at the mongoose with tremendous force ; 
it, quick as thought, sprang out of reach, uttering 
at the same time savage growls of rage. Again the 
hooded reptile rose on the defensive, and his wily 
foe, nothing daunted by the distended jaws and 
glaring eyes of his antagonist, came so near the 
snake that he was forced, not relishing such close 
proximity, to draw his head back considerably, this 
lessened his distance from the ground and enabled 
the animal to spring at the cobra's head, when he 
appeared to inflict-, as well as to receive a wound. 



34 MUNGO THE ICHNEUMON. 

Round after round was fought in this way, the 
mongoose sometimes springing straiglit up into the 
air to escape the deadly onslaught of the snake, 
and at last he succeeded in fixing his teeth into the 
head of the cobra, and, having killed it, he set to 
work to devour his victim. 

In a few minutes he had eaten the head and two 
or three inches of the body, including the venom, 
so dreaded by all. 

Shortly before the fight the snake had struck at a 
fowl which died within half an hour,showing that the 
poison of the reptile was in full vigour, and yet the 
mongoose after being repeatedly bitten, and having, 
as they afterwards found, the poison fang of the 
cobra deeply imbedded in his head, continued to 
be as healthy and lively as ever, clearly showing 
that the venom of the snake had no effect upon it. 
This would appear to settle the vexed question 
about the mongoose having recourse to some 
vegetable as an antidote to the effect of snake 
bites. In this case no such remedy was sought by 
the animal although it was severely wounded, and 
yet no harm seemed to result. 




IMTEY THE EAT 




IMPEY THE BAT. 




■T is not often that such an interesting- 
exotic creature as the Indian fruit-eating 
')l^, bat can be obtained in England. It was 
therefore with great pleasure that I 
heard several were to be purchased at Jam- 
rach's, and I lost no time in sending an order for 
one to be forwarded to me. 

There was some little excitement in opening the 
case which contained the illustrious stranger, as 
one could only know by experience whether an 
animal like a small fox, with leathery wings and 



38 IMPE Y THE BA T. 

formidable claws, possessed an amiable disposition 
or not. The box was therefore opened " with 
care," and quiet peeps taken of the inmate before 
he was let out. 

Two lustrous black eyes set in a soft furry head, 
which looked timidly out of the aperture made in 
the box, soon disarmed all fears, for the expression 
was gentle, and the queer hooked wings were only 
used to feel about in various directions to obtain a 
fresh hold in order that the bat might creep out, 
so he was allowed to find his way into a suitable 
cage where he could hang comfortably from the 
wires at the top. 

There was something so altogether weird and 
uncanny about the look of this creature that the 
name of Impey seemed the most appropriate that 
could be given. His body was clothed with very 
thick reddish-brown fur, the nose pointed, the ears 
large, formed of very thin membrane, and sensitive 
to the slightest sound. At night they were almost 
always in motion, flickering backwards and for- 
wards. The eyes are large, and glisten like two 
stars if a light is brought near the cage in the 
cvcninGf. 



IMPE Y THE BA T. 39 

The wings when expanded measure more than a 
yard across, and the membrane of which they are 
composed is somewhat h'ke black kid. 

After a time Impey was allowed to come out of 
his cage and creep about in the conservatory. He 
always made his way to some of the pillars, which 
were wreathed with climbing plants, and by their 
means he hooked himself up until he reached some 
wire near the roof, and from there he would hang 
head downwards, and taking advantage of his 
perfect freedom, he would thoroughly clean his 
fur, licking himself all over, examining his wings, 
and, putting himself in comfortable trim, would 
then wrap each wing tightly round his body, tuck 
his head out of sight, and go to sleep until night 
came on. If we paid Impey a visit about nine 
o'clock, we were sure to find our weird looking 
pet amongst the palm branches, his eyes gleaming 
brightly as he made his way in and out amongst 
the foliage. He was often in difficulties, because 
the plants would not sustain his weight, and he 
was liable to falls, so after an hour or two he was 
glad to return to his home, where he could suspend 
himself safely from the upper wires. 

4 



40 IMPEY THE BAT. 

His food consisted of apples, grapes, and 
bananas, and if by chance he had too large a 
portion to eat conveniently, he would unhook one 
of his wings from above, and holding the banana 
against his breast with a witchlike sort of claw, he 
would then break pieces off until all was finished. 

He never swallowed anything solid ; after long 
mastication he would flick away grape skins, apple 
peel, or anything else that he could not reduce to 
a soft pulp. Impey was a most gentle pet ; he 
liked to be caressed and stroked, and when called 
by name he peered out from between his folded 
wings most intelligently. 

I never before realised the difficulty of petting 
anything that would always live upside down \ 
One longed to see how the soft, pretty face would 
look the other way up, but we never saw Impey 
either reversed or flying. Those who have known 
these bats in India say that they require to drop 
from a height of at least twenty feet in order to 
get the air beneath their wings and fully expand 
them for flight. 

My specimen was Pteropus Media, and came 
from Calcutta. I felt, therefore, he would need 



IMPEY THE BAT. 41 

great care through the exceptionally cold winter 
we have had. In the well-warmed conservatory he 
could hardly have felt a chill, and he had every 
possible variety of food, but after some months he 
became hopelessly diseased, a not infrequent result, 
I find, of these bats being in captivity, and to my 
great regret I was compelled to have him chloro- 
formed to put an end to what would have been a 
suffering life. 

I have kept our English long-eared bat as a pet 
for several months, until it became quite tame and 
seemed perfectly happy. It would take flies from 
my hand, and required thirty or more daily to 
keep it in health and vigour, and this shows how 
much good is done by various species of bats in 
clearing the air of cockchafers, flies, and gnats. 

When a lively bluebottle fly was offered to my 
bat, it would seize it eagerly, and then folding its 
wings over the insect, would cower down upon it 
so that you could not watch the process of devour- 
ing it. 

On warm summer nights I am accustomed to 
sleep with windows open, so as to obtain as much 
fresh air as possible, but this allows the entrance 



42 IMPEY THE BAT. 

of inquisitive bats, and thus I am often able with a 
muslin net to capture the small visitors and keep 
them for a time to study their habits. 

I know many people have a nervous dread of 
these uncanny-looking little animals, but this dread 
would, I think, entirely pass away if the perfectly 
harmless nature of the bat were better known, and 
certainly its great value as an insect eater should 
protect it from being destroyed. 

It was interesting to watch the daily toilet of 
my small pet. 

He would carefully lick his soft fur, stretch ov.t 
his wings and clean them from every speck of dust, 
and when he considered himself in perfect order, 
he folded his long, delicate ears under his wings, 
hooked himself up on a wire at the top of the cage, 
and went to sleep until the dusk of evening, when 
he would be on the alert to be let out of his ca^e 
for a flight about the room. 

Flitler-mouse seems a very appropriate name 
for the bat ; its flight is vague and uncertain, 
much like that of a butterfly, quite unlike any sort 
of bird. On summer evenings one of the smaller 
species always hawks backwards and forwards on 



IMPEY THE BAT. 43 

the north side of the house, keeping within a veiy 
limited space, finding, I imagine, an abundant 
suppl}' of insects. 

Owing to the lakes being near the house and a 
moat being the boundary of the garden on one 
side, the supply of gnats is unlimited, so that 
swallows, bats, and all insectivorous creatures find 
this place quite an earthly paradise. I have .'aid 
that the bat's flight is unlike that of a bird, but 
one day, quite early in the spring, I saw what I 
took to be a large thrush flying high up above the 
trees in the park, and yet, as it flew in circles and 
at last turned somersaults in the air, I knew it 
must be a bat ; but what species could it be that 
would fly thus in the bright sunshine of a spring 
morning ? I went in search of a field-glass, and 
with its aid 1 could see that my supposed thrush 
was a noctule, the largest species of bat known in 
England. Its wings have an expansion of fifteen 
inches, and this must have been a full-sized speci- 
men to look so large when high up in the air. 
Yarrell, writing on this bat, says that its peculiar 
evolutions in the air are caused by the hooks on 
the wings being required to manage the struggles 



44 IMPEY THE BAT. 

of some large insect just captured ; the bat's flight 
is therefore interrupted, and it drops suddenly 
about two feet, a manoeuvre which reminds one of 
the odd movements of a tumbler pigeon. 

On the following day a pair of noctulcs were 
seen flying in the park, so I live in hopes that 
some day a young one wilL come into my posses- 
sion. I feel sure that with gentle kindness, 
patience, and care it would develop into a most 
interesting pet, for I learn from those who have 
kept them that they will become tame enough to 
fly to one's hand and take an insect from it, and if 
a humming noise is made with the lips, they will 
hover close to the face waiting for the coming 
dainty. 

I hope I have said enough to win favour and 
protection for this most curious and useful creature. 


















JOEY THE KESTREI,. 




JOEY THE KESTREL. 



{Falco Tinjiiinailus.) 

ROM time to time I heard little items 
about a certain young kestrel which 
was kept by a poor woman in the 
village. I tried not to wish for another 
pet, for I had altogether too many on my 
hands, but after resisting the temptation for some 
months, I was at last induced to let "Joey" be 
sent up to me " on approval." This was a very 
weak proceeding on my part, for if a new bird 
comes into the house it is pretty certain to 
become part of the family ; but as I had never 




48 JOEY THE KESIREE. 

kept a hawk of any kind, and wished to study- 
raptorial birds to some extent, this seemed a good 
opportunity. The kestrel, therefore, was allowed 
to come. His owner had been very kind to him, 
and had brought him up to be quite tame and 
manageable. He had not had any chance of 
getting out of his cage for the nine months of his 
life (he was a bird of last summer), so that his 
feathers were in poor condition and very dirty. 
Otherwise he was a bright-eyed, attractive little 
fellow, always ready with a chirp when spoken to, 
which is a sign of taming being fairly advanced. 

A solemn conclave w^as held, and the result was 
a verdict that Joe\' must be washed ! A conclusion 
easily arrived at, but not so easily carried out ! A 
hooked beak and a pair of active feet armed with 
remarkably sharp claws would leave their marks 
upon the hands that attempted to aid Joey's ablu- 
tions, but still, " where there's a will there's a way" 
was exemplified in this case. A large bath was filled 
with lukewarm water, a willing pair of hands, pro- 
tected by hedging gloves, volunteered to do the 
deed, and the bird, held softly and talked to kindly 
all the while, submitted with a fairly good grace to 



JOEY THE KESTREL. 4* 

his indispensable tubbing, which left the water 
dirty enough to show the great necessity for it. 

No bird can keep in health with its plumage lie 
disorder. When the feathers become matted to- 
gether, no amount of pluming will put them right, 
the poor bird becomes discouraged, leaves off using 
its oil gland (which therefore often becomes dis- 
eased), and sitting moping on its perch looks g. 
picture of misery. Then insects begin to increase, 
and at length the bird dies, quite as much from 
lack of cleanliness as from any fault in feeding or 
otherwise. In such a case it is better at once to 
resort to a thorough cleansing of the bird's skin 
and feathers by sponging with a little soap m 
lukewarm water, not, however, immersing the head 
or letting the soap go near the eyes. 

Joey was dried in warm soft cloths and theft 
allowed to go at large in the dining-room. After 
a time he set to work upon his feathers, and 
soon began to look soft and fluffy as his curious 
hooked beak applied nature's oil to lubricate his 
plumage. He is a prettily marked young bird, the 
prevailing colours being buff and brown. He docs 
not answer to Yarrell's description of the kestre? 



50 JOEY THE KESTREL. 

in many particulars, but I believe that is because 
he is in immature plumage as yet. 

As the spring advances he may show the yellow 
iris and proper feathers of a full-grown bird. Some 
days passed before our new pet developed all his 
amusing habits and manners. 

He ate and dosed and laid in a renewed stock of 
nervous energy, and then he began to show what 
manner of bird he was. • 

I first gave him a cork to play with ; he sprang at 
it, and, with chuckles of delight, danced round the 
room holding it in his claw. As he began to nibble 
the cork I substituted a peach-stone, which is now 
one of his regular playthings ; he will fling it a little 
way off, then spring after it like a kitten, take it to 
the top of his cage and drop it inside. The next 
idea is, perhaps, to have a fight with the claw foot of 
a table, flap his wings, and pretend to have a des- 
perate conflict. I never saw such high spirits in 
any bird before. 

He had a very dull life in a cottage room with 
no liberty and little change of scene, so it may 
possibly be the reaction of intense delight at 
his present happy circumstances ; any way, it is 








/ 



JOEY THE KESTREL. S3 

charming to watch his amusing and ever-varying 
antics. 

Sometimes he poses on the back of a chair as an 
eagle on a primeval mountain peak, looking very 
graceful as he holds his wings upraised and gazes 
out as if scanning miles of distance for some con- 
genial carcase to feed upon. 

It will be delightful when he has moulted and 
become strong upon the wing, to watch him as a 
true "windhover" poised in the air, as I often see 
his congeners in the park. It is quite marvellous 
how they hold themselves so absolutely still in 
mid-air while hardly a feather moves, and they, 
meanwhile, are searching the fields with their sharp 
eyes seeking for their favourite mice. Joe}' has 
most coquettish ways of turning his little head 
nearly upside-down when he is spoken to, clicking 
all the while with amiable greetings to us in his 
own fashion. He has breakfast and supper of raw 
meat mixed with chopped feathers, which enable 
him to throw up pellets and keep his digestion in 
order. 

One day we were startled by a sound like gravel 
being discharged from a cart, and found that Joey 



54 JOEY THE KESTREL. 

was ejecting a stream of small stones, which fell 
with a rattling noise upon his sandtra)\ We could 
only suppose that instinct had taught him to 
swallow these stones picked out of his sand to still 
further aid the digestive process. 

At our breakfast time the kestrel is let out of his 
cage, and then is our opportunity to study his 
curious wa}'s. He will sometimes fly to the side- 
board, and taking his portion of raw meat, he wilf 
make a good and sufficient repast and yet have a 
piece to spare ; this gives him a good deal of 
thought and trouble, as he evidently feels in duty 
bound to hide it somewhere till he shall again feel 
hungry. At first he stowed it away under a piece 
of carpet, and when let out again would go to the 
place and look for it. But latterly he has adopted 
another plan. There is a crevice behind some 
Bibles and hymn-books on the sideboard which he 
evidently thinks a highly desirable larder, and there 
he rams in the piece of meat, and if we go near and 
pretend to take it, he cowers down and stretches 
out his wings to hide his dainty from our sight. It 
is amusing to sec Joey going frequently to this 
crevice to sec if his proxision is all right ; it must, 



JOEY THE KESTREL. JS 

doubtless, be a natural instinct retained even in 
captivity thus to secrete any spare food till it is 
required. If his breakfast is dela}-ed he will keep 
flying from the sideboard to my shoulder again and 
again until his wants are supplied. 

A probable derivation of the word kestrel seems to 
be from " coistrel," an old name for a serving-man, 
this being the kind of hawk permitted for the use 
of peasants in the days of falconry. 

The specific name of the kestrel points to its 
shrill ringing note. When Joey sees Mungo we 
hear his voice raised to its highest pitch as he 
gazes at what must seem to him an alarming kind 
of stoat ; but he can also make a wailing sound ex- 
actly like a baby crying. This can always be evoked 
by holding his piece of raw meat and pretending 
to try and take it away. We do not often tease him 
thus, though one is tempted to do so for the sake 
of hearing his amusing protest. 

It is becoming a rare thing to hear the cry of a 
kestrel, or indeed any kind of hawk in our woods, 
so ruthlessly are they destroyed by gamekeepers 
on the plea of their being injurious to the interests 
of sport. It is a grievous pity to lose this beautiful 



56 JOEY THE KESTREL. 

race of birds from our fauna, and if even the larger 
species of hawks do sometimes kill a young part- 
ridge or pheasant, which may be urged as a plea 
for their being reduced in numbers, surely the use- 
ful little kestrel might be spared for the value of 
its services in ridding the farmer of mice, reptiles, 
and cockchafers. These form its staple diet, and it 
has been proved over and over again that farmers 
are very unwise in killing these birds, thus disturb- 
ing the balance of nature and bringing upon them- 
selves plagues of mice as a result. Mr. J. E. Hart- 
ing in " Science Gossip " shows how this bird is 
often mistaken for the sparrow-hawk, and remon- 
strating with a keeper who had shot a kestrel, the 
man remarked, " There ain't a greater varmint out; 
I'll be bound he's had some of my young birds." 
The poor victim was examined, and it was found 
he had dined off a short-tailed field mouse, with 
grasshoppers for second course, and the keeper was 
obliged to admit he could not grudge him that 
fare. 

Even the poor night-jar does not escape the 
murderous gun, for when Mr. Harting proved to a 
keeper, by pointing to its bill and feet, that it could 



JOEY THE KESTREL. 57 

not be what he called " a specie of 'awk," he found 
an excuse for killing it because it was " a narsty 
flopping thing ! " 

It is needless to say that there is no thought of 
Joey being sent away again. He is too delightful 
a pet to be parted with, so some coin of the realm 
has made him my little domestic eagle (as I call 
him) for life. I anticipate great pleasure as the 
spring comes on in seeing him in his new garb, and 
possibly he may become tame enough to be allowed 
his liberty out of doors, which I always delight to 
give when it is practicable, for the voluntary com- 
panionship of a wild bird is the triumph of real 
taming, and shows that the little freeborn heart 
has truly been " won by kindness." 





SYLVIA THE WOOD-MOUSE 




Y little nephew ran to me one sunny 
morning, with a wonderful story of a 
IM'^J/I^^ mouse he had found in a cage under 
the veranda, and to his surprise the 
mouse was so tame it would let him stroke 
it. I knew there was an old cage there, but I 
feared the mouse must be hurt if it allowed itself to 
be handled so freely. I went to see, and there 7t'as 
a bright-e)'ed, pretty little wood-mouse sitting in the 
food trough enjoying some old bird seed that had 
been left there. Referring to Yarrell I found it was 

58 



SVLV/A THE WOOD-MOUSE. 59 

a specimen of the long-tailed field-mouse, which 
will often come into houses when the weather is 
severe, and is " a gentle, timid little creature, easily 
tamed and rendered perfectly familiar." 

This was a very tempting description. The little 
boy pleaded that since it had come of its own 
accord it must wish to be a pet, and since it allowed 
me to caress it, I had no difficulty in transferring 
it to a large inverted propagating glass, where, with 
a box for a sleeping place, plenty of cotton-wool 
for bedding, and an ample supply of food, Sylvia 
took up her residence and seemed quite content. 

For a month I studied her habits and manners, 
and became much attached to the graceful, confid- 
ing little pet. 

Then I left home for a few weeks, and heard 
with real regret that Sylvia had escaped and could 
nowhere be found. 

I felt sure I should see her again some day, but 
several months passed by, and it was not till the 
following August that she appeared in the con- 
servatory. Climbing up a slender palm branch 
which enabled her to look through the glass door 
into the drawing-room where we were sitting at 

5 



6o SYLVIA THE WOOD-MOUSE. 

afternoon tea, Sylvia evidently wished to recall 
herself to our notice. A piece of brown bread 
and butter was placed on the floor, and in a few 
minutes she came to it, and after sundry nibbles 
took it away to be enjoyed in some quiet nook. 
I kept her old cage in the conservatory so that 
she might always find provender at hand, but still 
all through the summer and autumn she came at 
our tea-time for some extra dainty. One evening, 
to my surprise, I saw three small dusky forms 
moving about, and found Sylvia had invited, or at 
any rate permitted, two little shrews to join her 
ev^ening meal. I suppose while they were scouting 
around they smelt something good, and hunger 
made them bold enough to come into view. It 
shows how these tiny folk exist almost everywhere, 
doing their useful work in clearing away odds and 
ends that would otherwise tend to pollute the air. 

Sylvia's supplies are always ready for her in the 
conservatory, and need renewing every day, so I 
know she exists, though during the darkness of 
winter evenings I cannot see her, as I hope to do 
when sumn^.er comes a^iain. 




PIXIE AND PASTOR. 

HERE is something so bright and 
clever about the starling tribe, and my 
pet birds of this kind have so endeared 
themselves to me, that once again I 
''^^ have been led to bring up a pair by hand. 
Taken out of the nest before they were fledged (the 
rest of the family being left for the parent birds to 
bring up), they grew, under my care, to be strong 
and active, very distinct in character, but both 
extremely tame. To my great regret the male 
bird had a fit and died, so I have only Pixie to 

6i 




62 PIXIE AND PASTOR. 

e locate. She is devoted to me, and being such an 
active teasing sprite I thought the fairy name would 
be most appropriate to her. She is not as yet a good 
linguist. It is singular how individual specimens 
differ in that respect, for, after eight months' 
teaching, Pixie can only say a few words, while 
Richard the Second at the same age could repeat 
long sentences. Perhaps Pixie is only backward 
and may develop into a good talker later on. 

A young friend of mine derived much amusement 
from watching a pair of starlings which she had 
brought up from the nest. I will transcribe a 
short description of their building operations. 
" They grew very tame and would follow any 
of the family about the garden, perching on 
the shoulder of one or another, and even when 
out of sight they would come when called. They 
were kept in a cage at night and allowed their 
liberty b)- day. They soon learned to feed them- 
selves on grubs and worms in the field, and were 
wonderfully quick at catching flies and moths. In 
the summer these birds delighted to come into the 
house and seize the flies on the window-pane, and 
if the}- could get the chance they would steal a pat 



PIXIE AND PASTOR. 63 

of butter from the breakfast table. They seemed 
to have no fear; the dogs became accustomed to 
them. We often wondered if they were a pair, 
and in due time they set the question at rest by 
beginning to build. It was hoped they would 
kindly take to their cage, but after many begin- 
nings in different places a nest was really com- 
menced and finished on a shelf in a bedroom cup- 
board. The hen laid four eggs and began to sit, 
the cock taking his turn on the nest, and in a fort- 
night's time two birds were hatched, and the next 
day a third appeared. The window was left open 
all day, and in the earl}' morning they were let 
out, and very busily the parent birds worked all 
day bringing grubs, spiders, moths, and cater- 
pillars. The nest was a very curious structure, 
the foundation being of straw, but after the eggs 
were laid, feathers were added as a lining to keep 
them warm. Some peacock's feathers standing 
in a jar in the room attracted the starlings' atten- 
tion, and with these they artistically ornamented 
their nest." 

I had also hoped to watch this process of 
incubation, and the premature death of the male 



64 PIXIE AND PASTOR. 

starling set me thinlcing in what other way I could 
provide a mate for Pixie. Seeing an advertisement 
of a male rose pastor, and knowing it to be a closely 
allied species to the starling, I sent to Hampshire 
for this specimen, which duly arrived, and proved 
to be a fine healthy bird, but not as yet in mature 
plumage. It has no crest or pink colour except in 
its beak, which has a tinge of red ; the rest of the 
plumage is soft grey and black. The bird is 
remarkable for mental power ; he evidently thinks, 
and is the most quietly attentive bird I have ever 
possessed. He never flutters or gets in a fuss, but 
stands considering, and then goes forward and 
acts with decision. When out of his cage he 
affords me a constant source of interest, so plainly 
is the working of his mind to be seen by his 
actions. The rose pastor occasionally visits this 
country, but is a native of India. My specimen 
came from Calcutta, and being used to a warmer 
climate I am rather perplexed how to prevent his 
suffering from our cold winter and spring. So far the 
two birds do not seem to be attracted to each other, 
but when the cold ungenial spring has passed I 
live in hope that the nest-building thoughts may 



PIXIE AND PASTOR. 65 

arise, and the pair may agree to begin housekeep- 
ing together. I have been told of one instance in 
which a hen song-thrush paired with a blackbird ; 
no eggs were laid, but se\'eral nests were made in 
an outdoor aviary in which the birds lived. The 
nests were beautifully constructed by the hen bird, 
and consisted of small twigs and the stalks of 
millet, \\-ith a mud lining which she obtained from 
the turfs daily supplied to other birds in the 
aviary. The thrush was so tame as to allow her- 
self to be fed whilst sitting on her nest. This 
instance encourages me to hope that the Pastor 
and Pixie may pair in due time and afford me the 
amusement of watching their domestic arrange- 
ments, which in the case of birds with so much 
character are sure to be entertaininsf. 



Since this page went to press I have had a 
severe disappointment. 

So confident w'as I in Pixie's absolute tameness 
that I ventured, one fine May morning, to let her 
out in the garden. 

As I sat under a tree she was quiet and happy 
engaged in investigating the turf, hopping in and 



66 PIXIE AND PASTOR. 

out of her cage, and showing no desire to fly 
away. 

I felt extremely glad to be able to give Pixie 
her perfect liberty. We had not been sitting thus 
for more than a quarter of an hour, when the 
strong smell of smoke, and the roaring crackling 
sound of flames made me aware that the common 
which surrounds this place, was on fire. 

Pixie, in great terror, flew into the branches of 
the tree, caught sight of the fire and, alas ! away 
she went out into the park quite beyond my ken. 
I had to summon all the men on the place to help 
to put out the flames, when they threatened to 
come dangerously near my lodge and belt of trees. 

More than that we could not do ; it became a 
raging fire that no power could limit in any way, 
consuming more than fifty acres of our beautiful 
golden-flowered gorse and many young trees. I 
only once caught a glimpse of Pixie circling high 
in the air too far away to hear my call, and though 
the cage was left out, and every loving device tried 
to bring her back, I have never seen her since, and 
can only suppose that she flew so far away as to 
lose all clue to her old home, else I feel sure her 



PIXIE AND PASTOR. 



67 



affection would have brought her back to me. 
Pastor, I am happy to say, has borne this un- 
expected breaking off of his engagement with 
genuine philosophy, but I am less easily consoled 
than he is. 




INMATES OF THE GROVE. 




HIGHLAND KYLOES. 




N a sunny morning in the early part of 

September, we were ouL on a Scotch 

mountain-side, breathing the dcHcious 

fragrance of the fresh, keen air, scented 

by wild flowers, bog myrtle, and the rich 

luscious fragrance of the pine woods. 

The heather, like a purple sea, stretched away 
far as the eye could reach, melting into grey mist 
in the distance. The mosses underfoot glistened 

73 



74 HIGHLAND KYLOES. 

like silver, and the cobwebs, swaying as the bracken 
bent to the wind, showed each tiny thread gemmed 
with dewdrops, 

A mountain stream was malcing music between 
masses of grey granite, leaping down in miniature 
waterfalls and revealing its course by the rich 
growth of ferns and reeds, varied here and there 
by snowy masses of cotton grass, and ending at 
last in boggy ground where asphodel and many a 
delicate plant might be found growing in undis- 
turbed luxuriance. 

Towering granite rocks reared themselves here 
and there with weather-beaten fir trees growing out 
of crevices which seemed too narrow to afford 
either room or nourishment for trees of their age 
and size. 

Lichen growth tinged these rocks with many a 
delicate tint and stain, onl}' made more vivid and 
lovely by winter storms and tempests. These 
crags were mirrored in the calm waters of the 
Highland loch at their base — colour and form being 
faithfully repeated. 

The rich crimson of a curved bramble spray 
dipping into the water, made a leafy arch of exqui- 



HIGHLAND KYLOES. 75 

site beauty ; in fact, the whole scene vividly recalled 
the old poet's lines : 

" As when a smooth expanse receives inpress'd 
Calm nature's image on its wat'ry breast, 
Down bend the banks, the trees depending grow. 
And skies beneath with answering colours glow." 

The picturesque cattle one sees grazinj^ on the 
hill-sides are quite in keeping with the wild charac- 
ter of Scottish mountain scenery. It is not sur- 
prising that Mdlle. Rosa Bonheur, Mr. Goodall, and 
other artists have been attracted by Highland 
Kyloes, and made them the subject of many a 
charming picture. 

They are to be seen not unfrequently in English 
parks, and are, in their way, as beautiful as the herds 
of deer amongst which they graze. Although 
somewhat wild of aspect, they bear themselves 
with a natural grace and dignity as if they were 
proud of an ancient lineage, the true aristocrats of 
the bovine race. Their prevailing colours are 
brown, red, black, and a whitish dun colour not un- 
like that of the wild cattle of Chillingham. An 
essential qualification of a well-bred Kyloe is its 
Jong, straight hair which, during winter and spring, 



76 HIGHLAND KYLOES. 

attains a length of from five to seven inches. This 
shaggy covering, and their hardy constitutions, fit 
them for their hfe on the mountain-side ; they 
bear the piercing cold and drenching rains of a 
Scotch winter without injury, and they can feed 
contentedly and thrive on coarse herbage and 
scanty fare, consuming the grass which other ani- 
mals have left. The origin of their name seems 
rather obscure. Some have traced it to their cross- 
ing the many kyloes or ferries which abound in 
the west of Scotland, others suppose it to be a 
Gaelic word which signifies highland. 

The plate shows the curved expansive horns, the 
short legs, the broad forehead and straigh back 
which are considered the points of special beauty 
in a well bred kyloe. 

Although cattle of this kind are not specially 
adapted for dairy purposes they are noted for yield- 
ing excellent fine-grained beef; a prime High- 
lander always commanding the highest price in 
the market. 

The calves are brought up under cover during 
their first year, but afterwards they are allowed to 
face all weatliers, and thus grow up with shaggy 



HIGHLAND KYLOES. yy 

coats and vigorous constitutions so as to fit them 
for the free, wild life which awaits them on the 
hills. The different islands of the Hebrides contain, 
says Mr. Youatt, " about one hundred and fifty 
thousand of these cattle, of which it is calculated 
that one-fifth are annually sent to the mainland, 
principally through Jura or across the ferry to the 
Isle of Skye. Three thousand five hundred are 
yearly exported from the Island of Islay alone." 

The two kyloes, whose portraits are here given, 
adorned our fields for three years, and I was thus 
enabled to learn something about their ways and 
special characteristics. 

Curiosity seemed to be strongly developed in 
them. Their attention would be attracted by the 
smallest object in the fields — a rail misplaced — a 
cart passing by — a piece of paper blowing about, 
all would be watched and examined. The trait is 
common to all cattle, but more inherent in the 
Highlander than in other species. Impetuous also 
they were to a great degree. When first brought 
from the north, kyloes require most careful treat- 
ment. To attempt to drive them where they are 
disinclined to go would simply result in a stam- 

6 



78 HIGHLAND KYLOES. 

pede, and when this takes place it has a bad effect 
upon their manners for a long time afterwards. 
They cannot be treated too gently, and if only far- 
mers knew the harm done to their herds by rough, 
brutal treatment, their own self-interest would lead 
them to show more patience in driving cattle from 
field to field, or to and from the market or railway 
station. It often grieves me to see boys allowed to 
drive valuable cows, hurr^-ing and scaring the 
gentle creatures, shouting and flinging stones at 
them, and I marvel that farmers have not the wis- 
dom to train their cow-herds in better ways. 

I am told by those who have to fatten bullocks 
for the agricultural shows that keeping the animals 
happy, and treating them with quiet gentleness, 
tends greatly to promote their increase in size and 
weight, so that again, kindness would appear to be 
the best policy even from a selfish point of view. 

Our kyloes grew to be very gentle and quiet, 
and though one could hardly pet such bulky crea- 
tures, yet I used often to caress their thoughtful 
looking faces, and show to admiring friends their 
wonderfully long silky hair. As they gazed at you 
with their beautiful liquid brown eyes they seemed 



HIGHLAND KYLOES. 79 

as if they must be pondering over some difficult 
question. I often wished they could speak and tell 
us their thoughts, and that I could convey to them 
some of the kindly feeling we entertained towards 
them. 

I have had no opportunity of studying Kyloe 
cows, but I am told that they are so fond of music 
that the dairymaids invariably sing all the while 
they are milking them, else they will not readily 
keep quiet and yield their valuable produce. I 
will close this paper with a touching and true 
story of a Kyloe mother's love. 

A young calf while being taken away from the 
pasture where it had been grazing with its mother, 
was followed by her to the confines of the field. 
The drover thought that there would be an end of 
it, but that turned out not to be the case. About 
four o'clock next morning the cow was found 
standing patiently at the door of the shed in 
which her calf was confined. The affectionate 
bovine mother had travelled three miles seekincf 
her offspring, and could only be removed by 
sheer force from the plare where it had been 
slaughtered. 




SHAGGY BRAY. 



HE above name seemed the most 
l^^^illfi^v appropriate that could be found for 




i^>| a little ass's colt which was bestowed 
on me in my girlhood by a kind uncle, 
m^ who well knew my intense delight in ani- 
mals. No words could express my pleasure when 
this quaint shaggy little creature trotted up to the 
door, and I was told it was to be my " very own." 

I think my small steed was then about five 
months old, at any rate he could feed himself and 
had a remarkably good appetite for bran and oats, 




SHAGGY BRAY. 



iiJIAGGY BRAV. 83 

v/ith which he was well supplied. I suppose it 
seldom falls to the lot of a donkey to be brought up 
as mine was, lapped in luxury from its early youth, 
abundantly fed, with never a harsh word to vex it, 
and treated with uniform kindness. Shaggy was 
certainly born under a fortunate star. He trotted 
everywhere after me like a little Fakenham Ghost, 
and developed all kinds of tricky ways of his own. 
He had a most wonderful coat of shaggy hair from 
four to five inches long, black and tan ears, and the 
usual mark of the cross, formed by the black line 
down the shoulders and along the spine, was well 
defined. 

Of course Shaggy could not bear even my 
light weight until he was several years old, but I 
often turned over in my mind the possibility of his 
drawing a little cart when he had grown into a 
sturdy young animal. Alas ! however, coax as I 
might, my elders and betters did not seem inclined 
to give me any sort of vehicle for him, so I had to 
devise a plan of m.y own. It had to be a very humble 
sort of chariot, an ordinary wooden box on a pair 
of little wheels which the gardener obtained for 
me. He fixed the two together ; I had already 



84 SHAGGY BRAY. 

a bridle, and having attached to it a pair of long 
reins of flannel list, the proud moment came when, 
having harnessed Shaggy by a pair of leather 
traces, I stepped into my carriage and signified to 
the little steed that he might go forward. He re- 
ceived the command, as I gave it, in all innocence 
of what was to follow, but he no sooner felt the 
weight behind him and heard the rumbling of the 
wheels, than away he went full speed along the 
gravel walk, growing more terrified every moment 
by the noise of the hateful thing at his heels. My 
feeble reins snapped at once, so I was powerless to 
guide, and oh ! how I was shaken in the springless 
box 1 I could not get out, so I had to resign my- 
self to my fate which proved to be an ignominious 
upset of the whole concern as Shaggy dashed into 
the summer-house which stood at the end of the 
path. There were two tenter hooks in the front part 
of the box, to which the traces were fastened, and 
one of these caught in my ankle and tore a consider- 
able gash, otherwise no great damage followed this 
escapade. The poor little animal and I both stood 
trembling and subdued, and my first care was to 
console my pet with kind words and kisses for all 



SHAGGY BKAY. 85 

the terror he had gone through, and then to bind 
up my wound so that no one need know what had 
happened. 

I rather expect I thoroughly and privately 
darned that torn sock so that the rent might not 
be noticed, else I should probably have earned a 
severe rebuke for such carelessness. 

As Shaggy pastured in the fields by day, and 
was sheltered in the stable at night, it was always 
my pleasant duty to bring him home each even- 
ing, and, however dark it might be, I went 
through the fields alone ; if I could not see him, he 
answered my call by trotting up and putting his 
soft nose into my hand. The bridle was soon put 
on, and, jumping on the back of my little animal, I 
had always a delightful canter home, only needing 
to take care in passing through gateways that my 
limbs were not bruised against the posts. I learnt 
to have a capital seat in this way ; for, without any 
saddle, you must keep the centre of gravity very 
carefully if you would avoid constant falls ; but by 
sitting as if I were on a side-saddle, and holding 
by a lock of Shaggy 's long hair, I could enjoy 
many a gallop round the park in the early morn- 



S6 SHAGGY BRAY. 

ing, when the grass would liave been too wet and 
dewy to be pleasant for walking. 

As I look back to those long-ago years, 
and think of the many falls I had, I wonder 
I did not break my neck. It was bad enough 
when Shaggy chose to rush up a bank to 
find myself slipping off behind, but still worse 
when he suddenly swerved to the left whilst 
galloping at full speed, and I was pitched off to 
the right and fell on my head — fortunately on soft 
grass, else I should not now be writing these 
reminiscences of my erratic little steed. At one 
time the donkey had access to a poultry-yard ; but 
this soon had to be stopped, for nothing delighted 
him more than to try and trample the chickens to 
death. He would seize his opportunity when the 
fowls were being fed, and many of them were 
together, to plunge in amongst them and execute 
a sort of Highland-fling, which no doubt afforded 
him pleasure, but which wrought destruction to 
the poultry. The killed and wounded were so 
numerous that Shaggy was for evermore banished 
from the fowl-yard. This curious propensity has 
no doubt given rise to the proverb " Like a donkey 



SHAGGY BRAY. 87 

amongst the chickens." Our fields were some- 
times crossed by stag-hounds pursuing their 
quarry. This ahvays set my little animal gallop- 
ing wildly about, his head high in the air, first held 
to one side and then to the other ; and once, 
when under great excitement, he cleared a hedge 
in fine style, to the immense amusement of the 
hunters ; he added to the comical effect of his 
performance by braying vigorously all the 
time. 

Shaggy was in our possession for twenty years ; 
but at last it was not convenient to keep him any 
longer, so he was given to a friend, who made him 
both happy and useful. He carried a pair of 
panniers to the shooting-ground, and, keeping of his 
own accord near the beaters, he followed the party 
through the fields, receiving the game as it was 
shot, and seeming to take much interest in the 
expedition. The portrait at p. 79 is an exact 
likeness, reduced from a large chalk drawing I 
made long years ago. 

Asses live to a great age. I remember as a 
child riding on one at Brighton which was said to 
be forty years old ; and my little donkey at twenty 



88 SHAGGY BRAY, 

showed no sign of age or infirmity. If brought 
up kindly and well fed, the ass is a sprightly, 
intelligent creature, very different from the poor 
dispirited specimens one often sees in the streets ; 
frequently cruelly beaten and half-starved, the 
wonder is that they can live or work at all 
under such conditions. 

One is glad to know how much has been done 
of late years to inculcate kinder treatment of this 
useful little animal ; and not unfrequently we may 
see wcll-cared-for donkeys trotting along with a 
cheerful, happy look about them, their sleek coats 
and well-cleaned harness showing that they belong 
to a good master. 

It is a pretty sight in our own neighbourhood to 
meet a pair of tandem donkeys driven by a young 
lady, who knows well how to rear and educate 
her clever little steeds. She has devised a very 
original and humane method of quickening their 
pace when required. The thickness of an ass's 
hide makes an ordinary whip of little avail, so she 
holds one simply for appearance sake, the real 
driving implement being nothing more terrible 
than a mustard- tin full of stones, which when 



SHAGGY BRAY. 89 

rattled has a wonderfully rousing effect, and sends 
the little pair on at a famous pace. The following- 
anecdote goes to show what sagacity this animal 
possesses when treated with consistent kindness : — 

" A Spanish peasant, living in the suburbs of 
Madrid, had long been in the habit of repairing 
daily to the city, accompanied by a donkey laden 
with milk, for distribution among certain cus- 
tomers. One day, however, the master was taken 
ill, whereupon his wife suggested that the ass 
should be sent on his customary journey alone. 
The panniers were accordingly filled with cans of 
milk as usual, and a bit of paper was attached to 
the donkey's head-stall, requesting the customers 
to help themselves to their ordinary allowance of 
milk, and to put back the coin into the pannier. 
Off started the donkey, and he returned in due 
course with the cans empty and with everything in 
order. The master found upon inquiry that the 
trusty messenger had called at the right doors 
without missing one, and also that in some in- 
stances he had pulled the bell with his teeth when 
kept waiting. 

" From that day forward the donkey has gone his 



90 SHAGGY BRAY. 

rounds alone, and it may be presumed that his 
arrival at a certain definite hour is counted upon 
by each customer, just as in England, forty or fifty 
years ago, the inhabitants of country villages 
regulated their clocks and watches by the mail 
coaches, which ran past their doors with unfailing 
punctuality." 

The brain of the ass is said to be considerably 
larger in proportion than that of the horse, and, as 
I have before said, when the animal is well fed and 
kindly reared, it shows no lack of intelligence ; it 
will open gate-fastenings and let itself out, and in 
one instance known to me, the horses in the same 
field with a donkey were not above accepting its 
services when they wished to stray away, and 
would meekly wait till the clever little creature 
had unhasped the gate, when they would all canter 
off together for an unlawful frolic. 

The maternal affection of the ass seemxS to have 
been observed long ago, for Pliny says, " That 
when the young is separated from the mother, she 
will pass through flames to rejoin it." I was told 
by one who had the care of a donkey that had 
always hitherto been gentle and well-conducted. 



SHAGGY BRAY. 91 

that one day on entering the stable he was greeted 
with violent kicks from the little animal, and, sur- 
prised at this change of conduct, he looked around 
and found a tiny foal had arrived in the night, and 
the faithful mother thought she was bound to 
defend her new treasure from any intrusion, and 
would not allow any one to approach it. 

It is rather curious to observe how different 
animals attain the cleansing of their skin by other 
means besides bathing in water. One may often 
see an old cart-horse in a field, with cakes of dry 
earth upon his sides, because he loves a good roll 
over and over in a muddy place. 

The ass, on the contrary, shows his southern 
origin by preferring the dust of dry roads or sandy 
places in which to enjoy his dry bath.^ He will 

' The following extract from an American paper gives 
some interesting items on this subject : — 

"Animal Toilets. 
" Birds are very particular about the quality of their 
* toilet dust,' and equally nice as to the water in which they 
prefer to wash. Some use water only, some water or dust, 
others dust and no water. Partridges are a good example 
of the dusting birds, and are most careful in the selection of 
their dust baths. Dry loam suits them best ; but perhaps 



92 SHAGGY BRAY. 

carefully pick his way along the dry side of a lane 
to avoid a roadside puddle, so much does he dis- 
like wetting his feet. Even in drinking he is most 
fastidious ; only the cleanest water will suit his 
taste, and, unlike the horse, which plunges its nose 

their favourite place is a meadow where a few tufts have 
been removed. There they scratch out the loam, and shuffle 
backward, under the grass roots, until their feathers are full 
of the cool earth. In wet weather they find, if possible, a 
heap of burnt ashes on the site of a weed fire, and dust 
there. Sparrows, on the contrary, always choose road dust, 
the driest and finest possible. Meadow larks also are fond 
of the road, and dust there in the early morning. But they, 
too, have their fancy, and choose the dry, gritty part, where 
the horses' hoofs tread. Wild ducks, though feeding by the 
salt water, prefer to bathe in fresh water pools, and will fly 
long distances inland to running brooks and ponds, where 
they preen and wash themselves in the most vigorous and 
thorough way. But though passing so much time on the 
water, ducks seem to prefer a shower-bath to any other, and 
in a heavy rain they may be seen opening their feathers and 
allowing the rain to soak in, after which they dress the 
whole surface with oil from the reservoir with which they are 
provided. Swallows and martins are likewise nice in their 
choice of bath water ; nothing but newly-fallen rain-water 
thoroughly pleases them, and if tempted to bathe it is by 
some shallow pool in the road which an hour's sun will 
evaporate. Cats, large and small, make the mt^st careful 
toilets of any class of animals, with the exception of the 
opossums. Lions and tigers wash themselves in exactly 



SHAGGY BRAY. 



93 



well into the pail, the donkey sips his draught 
from the surface. 

Shaggy 's long hair used to fall off in the sum- 
mer, when he would become quite smooth and 
sleek, until the cold in autumn made his coat quite 
long again. 

the same manner as the cat, wetting the dark, indiarubber- 
like ball of the forefoot and the inner tne, and passing it 
•over the face and behind the ears. The foot is at the same 
time a face-sponge and a brush, and the rough tongue combs 
the rest of the body. Sporting dogs, which are used in mud, 
snow, and wet, are strangely clever and quick in cleaning 
.and drying their coats, and it is a sure sign that a dog has 
been over-tired if he shows any trace of mud or dirt next 
morning. Most of their toilet is done with the tongue, but 
they are very clever at using a bush or the side of a hay- 
stack as a rough towel. One small spaniel, which was 
allowed to live in the house, was well aware that if he 
returned dirty he would not be admitted indoors. About an 
hour before the close of the day's shooting he used to strike 
work and begin to clean himself, and, if urged to do more, 
-would slip off home and present himself neat and clean in 
the dining-room. One day the dog had been left at home, 
and his master returned and seated himself, wet, and with 
half-frozen drops of ice sticking to his gaiters, by the fire. 
Pan ran up and carefully licked off the frozen ice and snow, 
stopping every now and then to give an anxious look, which 
said as plainly as possible, ' Dear me ! If I don't get him 
•clean quickly, he will be sent off to lie in the stable.' " 




FOXES. 

.^T is by no means an easy matter to see 
/'.^^■r 'A anythinc: of foxes in their happy hours 
^^^^y^. at home, undisturbed by the fear of 
ifejl '■ hunters and hounds. Such an oppor- 
|,C tunity was, however, at length attained by 
my bailiff after much patient watching. 

From the shelter of a thick bush he was able to 
get a good view of the fox-earths, and after waiting 
in absolute stillness for about twenty minutes he 
caught sight of a pair of sharp bright eyes under a 
furze bush, about fi\e }-;;rds from where he was 

Q4 



FOXES. 95 

standinf;^. For five minutes or more these "eyes" 
never shifted but kept up their steady gaze. At 
last the owner of the eyes moved forward to obtain 
a better view of the suspicious object, and then he 
was seen to be a full-grown animal with a splendid 
coat and brush. An open space stretched away 
for a little distance and on one side was a ditch 
full of fox-earths. Up one of these holes the 
fox rushed, and there seemed but little chance of 
seeing him again; patience was, however, rewarded, 
for very soon there was a slight rustling and home 
came another fox (perhaps mate to the one first 
seen) and she rushed into one of the holes, the 
same one into which the first fox went. 

A few minutes passed, and out came Reynard 
again, evidently determined to make sure whether 
there was any danger lurking near. He walked 
cautiously about for some time and then, becoming 
reassured, he possibly gave some signal to his 
family, for out they all came, six or seven of them, 
the old fox and his vixen and five big cubs, pure 
hobbledehoys, awkward and clumsy as compared 
with their sleek, handsome parents. For some 
little time the watcher saw with much interest the 

7 



96 FOXEb. 

happy gambols of the whole party. They rolled 
over and over, played with each others tails, and 
were as full of fun as a set of big kittens. There 
is, however, a limit to human endurance on a 
summer's evening when the gnats are numerous ; 
and at last, an extra vicious sting led to a slight 
movement on the part of the observer, when 
instantly every fox had vanished into the " earths." 
It is quite possible that one fox had kept his eye 
upon the intruder all the time, and that he gave 
the danger signal when it was needed. 

The female fox, or vixen, makes a warm nest 
of dry leaves, moss, and hay, and shows the greatest 
affection for her young. 

She has even been known to carry a young 
cub in her mouth during a severe chase of nearly 
an hour, and only drop it from the necessity of 
taking breath. The fox is a nocturnal animal, as 
the linear pupil of its eye indicates; but in this place 
we often see it in the daytime, taking a leisurely 
stroll across the fields ; and in winter its footprints 
in the snow can be traced close to the house where 
hunger leads poor Reynard to search for any stray 
provisions lying about. Even such a shy animal 



FOXES. 97 

as he is, learns to know where he is unmolested, 
and trots fearlessly past us when we meet him in 
our walks. 

Fox-hunting on our common is no doubt a great 
amusement to all who participate in it, whether 
mounted or unmounted. 

The place is, however, particularly unsuitable for 
the purpose, as the O. B. H. often find to their 
vexation. 

The " earths " are usually blocked up the night 
before the hunt, so that when the fox arrives at 
home after a night's adventures in the neighbouring 
poultry yards, he finds himself shut out, and he has 
to creep under some furze or bracken for shelter ; 
this gives the first advantage to the hounds, who 
after a time come upon the scent, and from that 
time poor Reynard makes a series of short runs 
in all directions to elude his enemies and yet, if 
possible, he tries to avoid leaving the shelter of the 
common. One needs to see the business-like gait 
of the hunted fox to appreciate the coolness and 
judgment he uses ; he never wanders aimlessly to 
and fro, he forms his own plans and trots deli- 
berately about from one point to another guided by 



98 FOXES. 

the sounds he hears. The Grove being surrounded 
on three sides by the common, the foxes know they 
are sheltered within its gates, so they naturally 
cross and re- cross through the garden and fields to 
try and baffle pursuit, in fact, they describe a circle 
(long or short as the time or the vicinity of the 
hounds permits), until at last one is compelled to 
break cover and take to the open fields. Even 
then after a time he will try to swerve round to get 
back to his favourite haunt. The hunters are now 
courteous enough to abstain from riding through 
my gardens, which used to be a serious annoyance 
to me in former years; but I still hold very strongly 
the feeling that hunting, within eleven miles of 
London and in the midst of gentlemen's seats with 
highly-kept pleasure grounds, is a great mistake 
and should not be permitted. 

The hunters little know the extreme annoyance 
it causes, perhaps not so much from the actual 
damage to fences (though that is a very serious item, 
and a lady like myself cannot well appeal against 
it), but one's herds of pet Jersey cows, the young 
colts, and the sheep are all kept in a state of fright 
and excitement hour after hour until, in the case 



FOXES. 99 

of delicate cows, the results are sometimes sadly- 
disastrous. 

The hunt miay consist mainly of gentlemen, but 
others with no claim to that title mingle with them, 
and the followers on foot are simply "roughs," 
whose shouts and cries are a great offence to one 
who loves, as I do, the quiet peacefulness of the 
country. I am only too thankful when, by posting 
my garden-men at every point, I can succeed in 
keeping these hunt-followers outside my private 
grounds ; the fields they luiil invade, and alas ! for 
my young wheat, when eighty or more horsemen 
have ridden across it two or three times. My 
readers will not wonder that I am devoutly thank- 
ful when the hunting season is over and the poor 
little foxes are once more free from their tor- 
mentors. 





SQUIRRELS. 

UR Squirrels have become tamer and 
more interesting year by year. One- 
eared little Frolic has ceased to come 
to the window, we think he may have 
|>^ perished in some desperate fight, a victim 
to his combative disposition. 

Four very tame Squirrels arc generally to be 
seen on the lawn or in the fir-trees near the house. 
One we name Tiny, can be distinguished from the 
rest by his confiding little ways. He looks upon 
the dining-room as his province and feeding- 




SQUIRRELS. loi 

grounds, comes in at all our mcal-timcs, leaps on 
a chair, and from it to the table in the window, 
where he sits cracking and eating his nuts, gazing 
at us with perfect sang froid, but all the while 
keeping an eye to any possible intruders from out- 
side. If a hungry little furry face is seen peering 
over the window-sill, Tiny is off towards it like a 
shot, and we see a furious chase going on across 
the lawn, one graceful little creature eluding the 
angry claws of the other by a spiral scamper up the 
tulip-tree. If his nuts fall short. Tiny hops across 
the room to the cupboard where the bag is kept, 
and springing up to the shelf calmly helps him- 
self. Our friends are always amused to see this 
performance, for it does seem remarkably cool that 
Tiny should not only supply his own immediate 
wants, but keep on sowing his provender by putting 
nuts into little holes all over the lawn until the bag 
is empty. 

Tiny costs me a small fortune in nuts, but he is 
such a charming little thief I have not the heart to 
limit his supplies. On cold mornings when the 
windows cannot be kept open, nuts are always 
thrown out for our little friends, but before long 



I02 SQUIRRELS. 

these are disposed of, and then Tiny may be seen 
gazing at us through each window in succession, 
wondering, no doubt, at our hardness of heart in 
keeping him outside. So far as I can discover, these 
little animals of ours, being so well fed, do not hiber- 
nate during the winter, for through the frost and 
snow they come for their daily meals. Like the bees 
which, when taken to Australia, found the climate 
so mild and agreeable that they needed no winter 
store of honey, and therefore left off being " busy 
bees," we have interfered with the winter instincts 
of the squirrels, and fed them so well that they 
have become improvident, and look to us alone 
for their supplies. I do not know how this can 
be reconciled with the theory that a certain degree 
of cold causes the hibernation of the squirrel. 





HUNGRY BIRDS. 




THINK one sees the character and 
temper of birds more clearly shown in 
winter than at any other time. 

It is most amusing to watch a party 
of starlings during the hard frost, how they 
do fuss over a heap of oatmeal ! picking it up in 
eager haste, chattering all the time, taking hasty 
flights, scared with the slightest sound, but return- 
ing directly to continue their repast, pushing each 

other out of the way, having fierce little tiffs and 

103 



I04 HUNGRY BIRDS. 

scrimmages which are after all only on the surface 
and over in a minute. Very different is the real 
fury of a robin feud, which means serious fighting 
kept on from day to day, until sometimes I have 
seen the little combatants rolling over each other 
on the lawn in such blind rage that one could pick 
them up and try to be peacemaker, but I fear with 
little success, for the conflict is generally renewed 
and goes on to the bitter end. 

The blackbirds hold their own with great 
dignity, eating ravenously, it is true, but with little 
noise and minding their own business, only an 
occasional plaintive click revealing their presence 
amongst the claimants for out-door relief I 
delight to watch the pictty ways of chaffinches, 
they never seem too hungry to be polite, they 
come tripping daintily up to the food and wait 
till there is an opening in the crowd around it. 
One could fancy it possible to hear them say, 
" I beg your pardon for intruding, but may I have 
a little piece of bread ? " 

Another well-mannered bird is the water wagtail, 
always refined and pretty in its ways. It comes 
near with a little run, then stops to look and think, 



HUNGR Y BIRDS. 105 

and if rudely repulsed it goes away meekly, willing 
to suffer hunger rather than push its claims for the 
wintry pittance. 

Amongst all the rest the burly sparrow makes 
his way unruffled and unsubdued. He can make 
the food disappear in a marvellous way ; whether 
young or old his capacity seems only limited by a 
sense of suffocation. 

I remember one summer watching a very in- 
judicious father-sparrow feeding his little son with 
sopped bread just outside the window. He kept 
on until the poor little fledgling, unable to swallow 
any more, began to gasp, with his beak wide open 
in utter misery. The father looked puzzled, and 
seemed to wonder what his parental duty might be 
when a son began to show such signs of distress. 
He evidently felt unable to diagnose the case, and 
having apparently but one idea, was preparing to 
administer still more food when I came to the 
rescue and let the poor little bird have breathing 
time in a quiet corner, else there would surely have 
been a verdict of "killed by kindness." 

The hedge-sparrow is the most unemotional 
bird I know. I never saw one fight or flirt, or 



io6 HUNGRY BIRDS. 

seem put out by anything. It is a quiet, gentle 
bird, the type of a very homely person always in 
the path of duty, and never interfering with other 
people. 

The rooks, attracted to the lawn by the failure 
of their usual supply of grubs, which cannot be 
obtained during hard frost, are being fed under 
the tulip-tree with acorns, beech-mast, and Indian 
corn. They are joined by wood-pigeons and jack- 
daws, and the whole party feed very harmoniously 
together, eighty or a hundred at a time, their 
glossy black coats shining brilliantly as the morn- 
ing sun rests upon the moving crowd. When 
satisfied, away they fly, leaving a few stragglers 
behind, waiting to obtain some pieces of bread 
lying under the dining-room window; these they 
approach by side-long hops, and at last swoop 
down, obtain their desire, and are seen no more 
till a fit of hunger brings them back a few hours 
later. 

As a rule the rooks do not visit the garden in 
summer, but keep to the fields and rookery until one 
special day in autumn when they find out that the 
acorns on one of our Turkey oaks near the house 



HUNGR V BIRDS. 107 

are ripe, then they spend the entire clay in clcarinj^ 
the tree and carrying away the spoil. A certain 
bachelor rook sometimes elects to spend the summer 
with us. I suppose his love affairs have gone 
wrong, and he feels misanthropic ; anyway, there 
the bird remains, and is always to be seen alone on 
the lawn, having no family interests, and never 
consorting with the rest of the clan. 

We often smile at the untidy appearance of a 
rook's apparel. He has not only an ungainly 
walk, but the feathers between his legs seem to 
trail on the ground, which gives him a dissipated, 
unfinished effect, very different from the exquisite 
neatness of the close-fitting plumage of almost all 
other birds. 

Two moor-hens came up from the lake and lived 
in the garden for several months in the winter, 
either resting under the evergreens, or, when the 
snow melted, most of the day walking up and 
down the lawn together contentedly picking up 
insects of some kind. When this food failed they 
would come and sit for hours at a time just out- 
side the windows, enjoying oatmeal and sopped 
bread with the other birds. 



io8 HUNGR y BIRDS. 

At the close of the long and severe winter of 
1S90, it was most sad to see the number of lame 
birds, whose legs had evidently been frost-bitten, 
and amongst the rest one of the moor-hcns ap- 
peared only able to hop with difficulty, one leg 
being quite useless. Special care was taken to 
place abundance of food where she could reach it, 
but after three days she failed to come as usual, 
and I much fear she, and many other birds, 
perished that winter from pain and hunger. 

I must give a word of caution about another 
danger to which birds may be exposed, and 
which leads many of them to a miserable 
death. A friend has been telling me that fre- 
quently she had found starlings, blackbirds, and 
thrushes hanging from branches of trees in her 
garden, some dead, and some fluttering in vain 
efforts to escape. In much perplexity she had a 
ladder brought, and a man secured the unhappy 
birds, only to find in each case that their legs 
were entangled in human hair, which tethered 
them to the boughs until in some cases the birds 
had died of hunger and exhaustion. 

Next door to my friend's house was a young 



HUNGRY BIRDS. 



109 



ladies' school, and it seems the girls had been in 
the habit of putting their hair-combings out of the 
window ; the birds in hopping about had become 
entangled in the hair, and in their frantic efforts to 
escape had, in some cases, drawn the knots so 
tight as to cut off their toes. I can hardly think 
people generally are so careless with their comb- 
ings, but seeing what misery may arise to the 
feathered folk from want of thought in this respect, 
I trust I may be forgiven for this little word of 
caution. 





FOOTPRINTS IN THE SNOW. 

« EW - FALLEN snow illustrates very 
graphically the nocturnal habits of 
tC^ our wild animals. If, living in the 
country, we take a ramble at night with 
a lantern just after a snowstorm, we shall 
see in every direction the foot-tracks of foxes, 
hares, rabbits, weasels, S:c. 

The life and habits of these animals being so 
entirely different to our own — our night being in 
a great measure their day — we see them but 




Hare and Rabbit. 



% 



Water Rat. 



m 



Squirrel. 



m • 



Rat. 



Younn Rat. 




Pheasant. 



FOOTI'RINTS. 



FOOTPRINTS /A THE SNOW. 113 

seldom, and do not half realise their activity until 
the snow reveals the fact that they have been 
roaming about our gardens and fields, seeking 
their food, love-making, gambolling and scamper- 
ing to their hearts' content, until daybreak warns 
them to seek the safety of their coverts. I had 
long wished to be able to identify these footprints 
and learn what kind of creatures had been walk- 
ing about this place during the night. The 
following notes and illustration drawings have 
therefore been made by a very careful observer 
residing on this place. As the severe cold would 
not admit of my following up the study, I felt 
glad to depute to one better fitted than myself 
the task of making sketches of the tracks and 
noting their special characteristics. 

THE HARE. 

Night after night " puss " takes a stroll through 
the gardens. Starting from the woods she comes 
up to the white lodge, along the flower-garden 
walks, and down the drive until the iron gates are 
reached ; here she usually " casts around " and 
passes in front of the dining-room windows, then 

8 



114 FOOTPRINTS IN THE SNOW. 

by a zig-zag course to the wood in front of the 
stables. 

She is not pressed for time, and her tracks are 
well defined, with a space of one foot to fourteen 
inches between the leaps. One morning, soon after 
the first snow, she made up her mind to stay in 
the garden for the day. One of the men noticed 
her tracks and followed her up, giving puss a 
great fright as she sat comfortably under the 
laurels. Her footmarks as she left the garden 
showed as much as twenty-two inches between 
the jumps, and the fore-track was an oblong hole 
of some six inches diameter. 

A plot of khol-rabi left in the turnip field is a 
very curious sight. Between each row of roots the 
snow has been trodden hard with the continual 
tramping up and down of the hares which have 
been driven by hunger to visit this particular field 
in large numbers. The leaves of the khol-rabi 
were evidently the attraction, and to obtain them 
there has been a severe fight amongst the hares, as 
one can see by the snow being scattered and the 
bare ground left visible 



FO T PRINTS IN THE SNO W. 115 

FOXES. 

In all directions can be seen the well-marked 
pads of the fox, and these show that Reynard does 
not wander about aimlessly ; his tracks give one 
the impression of a business-like animal. All 
around the fowl-houses, barns, pigsties, and hay- 
stacks the fox goes at a steady trot, whilst, in the 
open, his footprints can be traced down to the lake, 
where he has evidently looked carefully around the 
edges and amongst the bulrushes in order to find a 
duck, water-hen, or some such dainty morsel. 

One morning I found the remains of a water- 
hen ; the fox-tracks were around it, showing that 
the poor animal must have been terribly hungry 
else he would have taken the bird home to enjoy 
it at his leisure. 

After seven weeks' frost the foxes have become 
so starving that they have come out in the park 
early in the afternoon hunting for anything they 
could find in the shape of a bird or rabbit, and 
have been frequenting the turnip-field in the hope 
of securing a hare. 



ii6 FOOTPRINTS IN THE SNOW. 

RABBITS. 

A few of these little pests have made their way 
into the garden, and their footprints show clearly 
how driven they are for food. The drawing-room 
window and the space under the tulip-tree afford 
them some scraps every night after the birds have 
retired. One never sees a trace of them in the 
daytime ; they come in from the common at 
night and go out again before daylight. 

MOLES. 

The snow mantle on the fields is mottled with 
heaps of earth, showing that the moles are busy 
and able to find food in the soft sub-soil of the 
fields. Near the farm stables the gravel comes to 
the surface and continues as far as the common. 
A mole bent on coming into the kitchen garden, 
travelled up from the home field until he came to 
the gravel ; this being too hard for him to work 
through, he came up to the surface and continued 
his journey overland. The track was very curious : 
it consisted of a furrow in the snow two and a 
quarter inches wide and one inch and a half deep, 



FOOTPRINTS IN THE SNOW. 119 

with faint claw-marks alternating. I fancy this 
animal seldom cares to come in contact with the 
snow, but was compelled to do so in this instance 
owing to the gravel outcrop I have mentioned. I 
have seen their tracks in a field recently manured ; 
the moles seem to have been attracted there by 
the worms they would pos;;ibly find in turning 
over the clods of manure. 

WEASELS. 

These little animals are not uncommon either 
in the garden or on the farm. Their tracks are 
very indistinct and blurred owing to the shortness 
of their legs. 

When going at full speed they can take leaps 
twelve inches apart. On the common they have 
many hiding places. Often a rabbit is picked up 
dead, the weasel having sucked its blood but not 
attempted to mutilate the body of the rabbit. On 
either side of the wood-walk and nearly opposite 
are two weasel holes. Between the two the snow 
has been trodden into a regular path. 

It would be interesting to know if one weasel owns 
both the habitations or whether there are inmates 



I20 FOOTPRINTS IN THE SNOW. 

of each house. If the former should be the case, 
does the weasel use one hole for a store-house ? 
If the latter, then it must follow that weasels are 
sociable, yet I have never seen more than one at 
a time about the estate. 

I think it is Thomas Edwards who records the 
fact that weasels do sometimes hunt in packs. 

RATS. 

The feet of the rat are not very distinct in the 
snow ; they are simply rounded hollows with faint 
claw-marks. 

The rats do not venture many feet away from 
the shelter of the barn. After a little new-fallen 
snow their tracks can be seen passing from the 
barn to the pigsties, where they by chance get a 
little food. 

The water-vole leaves a very different track from 
the land -rat ; the fore- feet are closer together and 
there is a greater space between the fore and hind 
feet. It is, however, difficult in deep snow to get a 
good track of either species. 

FIELD-MICE. 
Both the shrew and the field-mouse have a 



FOOTPRINTS IN THE SNOW. 123 

curious habit of making tunnels in the snow. In a 
field where manure has been placed in heaps the 
tracks of mice are very numerous. They have also 
formed tunnels and galleries through the heaps in 
every direction. 

Here and there the mice have ventured a little 
run on the surface of the ground, but only for a 
short distance ; then they tunnel through the snow 
until they reach the heaps, over which they have 
constructed snow galleries. I would suggest that 
these precautions are due to the instinct of self- 
preservation in the wee creatures. Were they 
to run on the surface of the snow by night— and 
they are nocturnal in their habits — they would be 
too plainly visible to the owls, and afford them a 
dainty meal, especially as those birds, in common 
with other living creatures, are getting sorely 
driven for lack of food. I am confirmed in my 
theory that this is the true reason for making 
tunnels, by measuring the stride of the mouse in 
the open compared with that in the tunnel. In 
the former they are fully three inches apart, in 
the galleries they are less, showing that mousie 
has travelled at a more leisurely pace. 



E24 FOOTPRINTS IN THE SNOIV. 

SQUIRRELS. 

The squirrel tracks are very conspicuous. When 
wandering about under the trees looking for acorns, 
nuts, &c., the marks of the front paws are very close 
together, but tracks in the open, show all the paws 
widely separated, as the active little animal bounds 
along at a great pace. 

The squirrels here seem to be utterly indifferent 
to frost and snow. Whilst the dormouse and hedge- 
hog are drowsing away in their winter nests, the 
little squirrels are as busy as bees in summer time. 
Under the larch-trees one may see traces of their 
activity in the chips and gnawed pieces of the cones, 
and looking up one can sec as many as five or six 
little balls of fur busily at work getting a meal out 
of the resinous cones. Presently one will leave his 
branch and go to see how his neighbour is faring, then 
the merry little animals may be seen at their best. 

The intrusion is resented, and away they go after 
one another, round the trunk, along the branches, 
dropping perhaps some eight or ten feet on to an 
underlying branch, until they tire of their gambols 
and begin operations on the cones again. 



FOOTPRINTS IN THE SNOW. 125 

The hornbeams afford the squirrels a great supply 
of food during the winter, and it is most amusing to 
watch them venturing out on the slenc'cr twigs for 
the mast. The twigs bend double, but the squirrel 
does not mind, for he is perfectly secure; if it breaks, 
well, out go his feet and legs parachute like, and he 
soon alights in safety on an underlying branch. 

BIRD TRACKS. 

The water-hen makes one of the most con- 
spicuous tracks in the snow, her stride measuring 
nine inches from toe to toe, and the footprint itself 
being four inches wide. 

The pheasant leaves a three-pronged mark, and 
in deep snow his hind toe makes a continuous line 
between the footprints. 

In the wood between the white lodge and the 
lake can be seen the somewhat puzzling foot-tracks 
of the jay. They are rather indistinct: a hopping 
footprint side by side which in the deep snow does 
not leave such a clear imprint as the striding 
birds do. 

Here and there one sees four or five curved lines, 
which are made by the long feathers of birds as 



126 FOOTPRINTS IN THE SNOW. 

they dig in the snow and spread their wings on 
either side to support themselves. 

The wood-pigeon tracks are blurred by the 
breast feathers, their legs being so short that the 
plumage brushes the ground as they walk. 

When a thaw sets in, all kinds of footprints are 
curiously accentuated. They then take the form of 
positive impressions, quite unlike the " negatives " 
that have been seen on new-fallen snow. The 
reason is exceedingly simple. The snow imme- 
diately under the feet of the animals and birds is, ot 
course, pressed or moulded, and is naturally some- 
what harder than the surrounding snow ; the latter, 
being loose, melts away first, and so the impression 
of the track is left like a raised or embossed figure. 




RECORDING IMPRESSIONS. 




RECORDING IMPRESSIONS OF 
NATURE. 

SHALL presently be speaking of the 
]^^^\ actual treasures that may be brought 
home for the museum as the result of 
our travels ; but let us now consider 
how we can retain the pleasure of such 
intangible things as sunsets, wide-stretching views, 
the thousand odours of wild flowers and scented 
leaves, the jo}'ous songs of birds, the music of 
falling water, and the wondrous beauty of distant 
mountains or snow-clad peaks. I would advise 

i2g 




130 RECORDING IMPRESSIONS OF NATURE, 

every young mind to enjoy such sources of pleasure 
to the fullest extent that opportunity may afford, 
and then try to describe in words what the eye 
and ear have been able to receive. I grant such 
word-painting is not easy, we have Ruskin's lament 
on that subject: "Hundreds of people can talk 
for one who can think, but thousands can think for 
one who can see and tell what he saw in a plain 
way." (" Modern Painters," vol. iv.) 

This is extremely true, and is confirmed in an 
amusing way by Mrs. H. M. Stanley (Dorothy 
Tennant), in her book upon " London Street Arabs," 
in which she gives very clever hints about sketching 
from nature, and shows how much one is repaid by 
trying to draw even the commonest things to be 
seen in the London streets. By way of convincing 
us how unobservant we are, she says : 

" Which of us could draw a hansom cab from 
recollection, or an omnibus ? You would find it 
necessitated many a walk along the Strand, Oxford 
Street, Holborn, or any great thoroughfare. You 
would have to stare at the lamps, the shafts, the 
curve of the top, the scat of the driver, many a time 
before you could draw them. It would puzzle you 



RECORDING IMPRESSIONS OF NATURE. 131 

to draw a policeman's helmet, and you would 
probably make his summer coat too long or his 
winter coat too short. It would take you some time 
to master the fact that the policeman has seven 
plated buttons, that his belt has a snake-like clasp, 
and that his helmet has a particular curve at the 
back. You must examine him very closely — so 
closely, indeed, that he will probably examine _jw/ 
suspiciously." 

Now, if this be the case in trying to use our 
pencil it will prove to be just as true of the pen. 
Until we try to write down what we have been 
taking in with our senses, we shall not be aware of 
how much we have missed of the real beauty of the 
delicate things that are given for our enjoyment. 

The act of recalling the sources of our pleasure 
in country scenes will strengthen our powers of 
appreciation, and set our minds thinking. 

A sweet scent will make us ask ourselves, " Where 
does it come from ? " Is it wafted from the next 
field, or is it from the wayside flowers ? Our walk 
becomes more interesting as we trace the perfume 
to its source. 

Or a sweet-voiced bird sings in a neighbouring 



132 RECORDING IMPRESSIONS OF NATURE. 

copse, and we wait and watch till we can catch a 
glimpse of a grey coated little warbler with a black 
head, and on reaching home we turn to a book of 
birds, which tells us we have listened to the blackcap, 
by some considered next to the nightingale for 
richness and purity of song. 

A little further on, perhaps, we see a small 
dead animal ; many would say, " It's just a mouse," 
but if we are going to write a description of our 
walk we shall want to know more about it, and, 
looking closely, we shall see it has a very long 
snout, short legs, and slender tail ; we ask a rustic 
working near by, and he tells us it is a shrew, which 
is not really a mouse at all, and when we read that 
it feeds on slugs and insects of many kinds, and 
clears away any dead birds or mice that would 
otherwise taint the air, we look with respect at the 
tiny creature which with restless activity is thus 
doing so much useful work in the world. 

Evening is coming on, and through the stems of 
the trees in yonder wood we see lovely gleams of 
colour ; we hasten to a spot where we can enjoy 
the sunset and try to think how the wondrously 
mingled tints are to be described, so that some 



RECORDhyC IMPRESSIONS OF NATURE. 133 

friend wliosc ill-health keeps her constantly within 
four walls, may, in some measure at least, partake 
of our cnjo}-mcnt. How hopeless a task we have 
set ourselves. W^c stand and gaze at the gorgeous 
sight, but how are words to tell of the lovely tones 
of orange, pink, and crimson, in delicate streaks 
and flecks on a pale blue, or it may be almost 
sea-green sky (for a stormy sunset will sometimes 
suggest that colour) ? I am not going to attempt 
the task, but I would say, tiy to do it, if only for 
the increased power of appreciation of all succeed- 
ing sunsets which will be the sure result of even 
the feeblest attempt at word-painting. The invalid 
friend will be able to conjure up from your des- 
cription not perhaps the sunset you saw, but 
something bright and beautiful that will bring 
refreshment to a mind possibly very wearied with 
the monotony of every-day life. Sweeter still will 
be to her the thought that, whilst nature was 
giving you such exquisite pleasure, you received 
only that you might bestow, you took thought and 
pains that she might be the sharer of your joy. 

If I venture in the succeeding pages to give a 
few examples of such "word-pictures" it is only 

9 



134 RECORDING IMPRESSIONS OF NATURE. 

that others, with greater descriptive powers than 
I possess, may by these very feeble attempts be 
led to taste the delight of trying to record their 
impressions of " nature-teachings." 




=^e;..- 



t^ 



■■'? PI 



r 




THE YEW MOUND AT THE (;KOVE. 




A BEECH WOOD IN SPRING. 

" Tu, patulas recubans sub tegmine fagi." — ViRGiL, 
Biicolica, Eel. i. 

" Beech, the most lovely of all forest trees, whether we 
consider its smooth bark, its glossy foliage, or its graceful 
pendulous boughs."— Gilbert White's Natural History of 
Selborne, Letter I. 

HO can describe the exquisite loveli- 
ness of a forest glade on one of those 
brilliant days in spring or early summer 
when the sun is pouring floods of light 
amongst the young beech leaves, and they 
are sending down their greenish golden glow 

137 




138 A BEECH WOOD IN SPRING. 

of colour upon the carpet of flowers beneath ? 
There is a kind of unearthly glamour in the scene 
which makes one almost expect to see the fairies 
themselves come tripping out of the old hollow 
moss-curtained tree stems. Truly, it would need 
an elfin's pen to do justice to such a scene ; but 
one may think about it, and perhaps convey some 
of its sweetness to toiling minds, weary with 
prosaic work, dwelling possibly far away from 
golden beech leaves, or nodding violets, peeping 
out of their thymy banks. 

From the fallen tree stem where I sit, the road 
is carpeted with last year's leaves, all sere and 
crisp ; out of the brown buds overhead thousands 
of silvery-fringed young leaves, unfolding and 
quivering in the gentle breezes, are sending their 
soft grey shadows down in flickering traceries 
upon the mossy ground. On one side there is a 
light bank, rich in colour, lent to it by lichen 
growths of many kinds, glossy ivy leaves are 
throwing their own picturesque garlands over the 
grey masses of rocks, amongst which old tree 
roots are twining in and out like great brown 
snakes seeking their prey. Here and there the 



A BEECH WOOD IN SPKIiXG. 139 

blue veronica looks out with its " angel eyes," » 
pink campion is beginning to open its buds, the 
snowy stellaria holds up its tender little cups to 
catch the sunlight, and violets add their purple 
gleams to the picture. The graceful melic grass 
is waving its tiny purplish brown plume out of 
masses of rich green leaves, which as Keats so 
aptly says are growing " lush in juicy stalks." 
The bryony is climbing resolutely above the rest, 
flinging out long tendrils everywhere, making 
friends with all its neighbours and getting from 
each a little help in its upward course. 

Now from the beech wood I am looking out 
upon a soft dreamy landscape, slopes of tender 
grass, masses of rounded foliage of all shades of 
colour ; yet each tree has its own distinctive tone, 
walnuts looking almost crimson against the vivid 
green of the forward beeches which are already 
in leaf; others again, the later ones, still showing 
their golden brown buds, thrown up by the dark 
funereal yews, which abound here and give such 
richness and depth to the landscape. 

There is no sound to break the silence save the 
' A rustic name for the plant. 



I40 A BEECH WOOD IN SPRING. 

notes of birds, they have it all their own way, no 
discords here ; no hum and bustle of busy man 
can reach this favoured spot, a nightingale is 
pouring forth gushes of song, a blackcap and robin 
are singing against each other, and a little wren 
peeping at me from behind a mossy stem is 
warbling after her usual hurried fashion, as if she 
had not another minute to live. Happy birds, to 
dwell in such a peaceful spot ! 

Turning to the left, where a great yew tree 
makes a mass of shade, I see a lovely shower of 
pure white buds, as though a snow-storm had been 
petrified as it fell ; it is a white-beam tree growing 
by the yew, its slender twigs are not seen, only 
the snowy buds glisten and sparkle in the bright 
sunbeams, giving promise of the abundant leafage, 
which is ready to unfold from those silvery caskets. 
Just where the sunlight falls on a clear space of 
stony ground, a gem-like insect has lighted down, 
and rests there basking in the warmth, a vivid spot 
•of emerald ; at length it moves, colour flashes 
from its wings, away it flits into a mossy hollow, 
leaving the momentary impression of a trail of 
brilliancy behind. The brake-fern is sending up 



A BEECH WOOD IN SPRING. 141 

everywhere its crozier-like stems, brown-haired 
and curled, keeping for awhile its future wealth of 
leafy shade in a firm grasp, till the warmth of 
summer sunbeams shall woo it to unfold into its 
full beauty, and form a mimic forest, wherein grey 
furred rabbits may frolic to their heart's content, 
and bronze-winged pheasants steal in and out, 
with wary step and lowered head, ever on the 
listen, lest some of their many enemies may be 
lurking near. 

As I gather a fern-frond something springs from 
the ground and disappears as if the wind had 
suddenly caught up a red brown feather, but, 
peering furtively from behind a tree, I see a pair 
of black eyes and pointed little ears. They 
remain perfectly motionless for many minutes, 
then a sudden spring reveals a lithe young 
squirrel. Soon it is perched upon a branch, 
where it sits up and growls at me, striking its little 
paws angrily together, yet nibbling at intervals at 
some morsel of woodland diet, its graceful little 
feather of a tail curved over its back like a note of 
interrogation. Now it sees one of its own kind, 
an interloper apparently, for away go the pair 



142 A BEECH WOOD IN SPRING. 

after each other, round and round the tree in a 
spiral chase, with such rapidity that one could 
almost imagine one saw a chain of squirrels 
garlanding the old stem. 

Hour after hour may thus be spent in quiet 
musings upon the fair sights and sounds that 
greet us in the peaceful woods. Weary toil-worn 
minds will not fail to gather fresh strength and 
courage from such communing. Nature's voice 
speaks straight to the heart, refreshing and in- 
vigorating it as dew restores the sun-parched 
flowers at nightfall ; the unrest and turmoil of 
the world is forgotten for a time, and every avenue 
to the soul is filled with new and soothing in- 
fluences. Sweet-voiced birds tell their tale of 
happiness as they plume their tiny wings, and 
murmur their love notes to unseen ncst-brooding 
mates. The rustle of the leaves, the s.vaying of 
the branches, the mysterious music of the woods, 
made up of a thousand harmonies blended to- 
gether. No pen can describe it, but the ear 
attuned to Nature can drink it in and taste such 
joyous enchantment as lifts it for the time far 
above earth's toils and cares, and will leave for 



A BEECH irOOD hW SPRIXG. 



M3 



many an after day a sweet refrain of echoing 
music to cheer the busy worker in the midst of 
surroundings which would otherwise bring to him 
no reminder of the green woods, where 

" The long drooping boughs between 
Sliadows dark and sunhght sheen, 
Alternate come and go." 





LAMORNA VALLEY. 




HERE lies before me a granite boulder. 

It is framed amongst rich crimson 

bramble leaves, and sprays of wild-rose 

covered with scarlet hips are wreathed 

y/.-is around it. It has for a background a valley 

of russet woods of oak and elm lit up by the 

level rays of the setting sun. Stretching far away 

into the distance are purple- tinted hills veiled with 

grey shadowing mists. Was not -this a picture 

to set one thinking? Memory brings that Cornish 

valley before me as vividly as though my delighted 

144 



LAMORNA VALLEY. 145 

eyes still rested upon it. At the time one could 
but feast upon the surrounding beauty, noting 
each item that tended to the general effect, 
breathing the delicious air, scented with wild 
thyme and numberless plants whose fragrant 
leaves sent out their aromatic perfume as the 
cows and sheep browsed leisurely by the road-side. 
This silence was only broken by the rippling 
of a little stream which wound through the valley. 

" The noise as of a hidden brook 
In the leafy month of June." 

The plaintive cry of a seabird could be heard now 
and then as it sailed high over head, or the nearer 
sounds of happy chirpings came from the autumn- 
tinted trees. Such sounds as these seem rather 
to add to the sense of quietude, for they are calm 
and peaceful, and are only the natural outcome 
of one's surroundings. 

Time passes all too quickly in this lovely spot, 
but before the light goes let us look more closely 
at this large grey boulder. Little ruffles of ivy 
are creeping up its sides out of the soft, velvety 
grass which forms its setting, the leaves are white- 
veined and flushed with a crimson tint, as if to 



146 LAMORNA VALLEY. 

be in keeping with the vivid colouring of the 
brambles. Rounded bosses of softest green moss 
fill in the crevices, and where they cannot find 
place or soil in which to grow the grey and orange 
lichens grow and spread, and bear their varied 
forms of fruitfulness. Other kinds of dark brown 
or deeper grey form a lovely intermingling mosaic 
clothing for the bare stone, and further on where 
the boulders face the sea-breezes long fringes of 
grcygrecn lichens cover them on all sides so 
thickly as to deepen the impression of their 
antiquity. 

These Cornish boulders send one's thoughts 
wandering back to the first ages of the world's 
history — to the times of earthquake and upheaval 
when wondrous forces placed them where they 
now remain. No human eye could have gazed 
upon those scenes when all the foundations of the 
earth were moved and the underlying granite 
came to the surface. If, however, we could then 
have been poised in air, what should we have 
seen ? Imagination fails to conceive what it 
w^ould have been to look upon the boiling sea 
and glowing rocks in wild confusion, the air like 



LAMORNA VALLEY. 147 

a steaming cauldron, as internal fires uprushing 
turned the sea to vapour, the rolHng of thunder 
and the crash of earthquakes prevaiHng for we 
know not how long, but at last, when the conflict 
of the elements ceased, the sun would at length 
arise and shine for the first time upon a newly- 
created line of rocky cliffs standing still and quiet, 
and the blue waves would break softly at the base 
of the granite masses of Lamorna, Boskenna, and 
Tol-Pedn. Can we picture how they looked then ? 
No tinge of green could be seen upon them — that 
comes as the soft mantle flung over them by 
gentle nature as }ears roll on. 

Doubtless at first those heights stood up sharp- 
edged and crystal-bright just as they sprang from 
their lower depths, reflecting the morning sun 
with dazzling brilliancy. Age after age has been 
crumbling away their edges, rounding each stone, 
and weathering the surface to the quiet grey 
which is now their characteristic colour, varied 
here and there by tinges of metallic red and 
yellow. It is the hoary antiquity of these granite 
ranges as well as their enormous size which so 
deeply impresses the spectator. If only they 



148 LAMORNA VALLEY. 

could speak the sermons they contain, if they 
could but describe the succession of races they 
have seen as dwellers in the land, from the days 
when the early Britons used these stones to form 
their own dwellings, down to these modern days 
when the railway brings tribes of tourists to walk 
over the land and make their flippant remarks 
on the grand old stones and rocks of a long past 
age. 

If these boulders had a voice what chronicles 
they could give us ! How reverently would we 
listen as they told of Druids marching in solemn 
procession amidst their magic circles of devout 
men and women, dwelling apart in their stone 
cells, witnessing by their pure and holy lives to 
the reality of the faith which they professed, 
leaving to their dwellings the inheritance of those 
saintly names which to this day are so frequently 
found in Cornish parishes. 

Then would the records of the rocks go on to 
tell of invaders and invaded — of deeds of mag- 
nificent courage performed by land and sea by 
the long list of noble Cornishmen whose names 
will never be forgotten whilst the histories of true 



LAMORNA VALLEY. 149 

bravery and daring remain upon the earth. Linked 
also with this western land is one name which 
will ever shine brighter than all the rest — the life 
which in consecrated loneliness was laid down 
in the mission field. The record of Henry Martyn 
is on high, and all that he did and suffered is 
known only to the gracious Master for whom 
he lived and in whose service he died. 

The rose tints of the setting sun have been 
resting on the granite peak yonder ; they fade 
away, the shadows are deepening, the blue mists 
of evening are creeping over the lonely valley. 
Farewell, grand old rocks ! Rest in your patient 
solitude ; one weary spirit has been refreshed by 
your felt, though unspoken, teachings. May others 
also listen to you in this sweet valley with hearts 
attuned to receive Nature's silent teachings. 

" There is no speech nor language where their 
voice is not heard." 

" Mountains and all hills : ... let them praise 
the name of the Lord," 



...fcHMTvi,^ 




THE GROVE. 



THOUGHTS AT MY LAKE. 



jssijB ?;"'"'' T is a lovely summer's day. A charminc^ 



"rvAfi scene lies before me and the most 
ip- absolute peace reigns around. 

1 am sitting in the open doorway 
)^^'^ of the chalet, looking out upon the lake. 

It is fringed with bulrushes, which are just begin- 
ning to throw up their green velvet spears. White 
water-lilies arc floating in the midst of their 
shadowing leaves, giving a feeling of coolness and 
purity. Sometimes a breeze passes over the water 



THOUGHTS A T MY LAKE. 153 

and lifts a few of the broad leaves, curling them 
back so that they show their paler under surface, 
an effect so often seen and beautifully pourtrayed 
in Kecley Halswelle's pictures. Water-plantain 
is sending up its flower-spikes and strewing the 
water with its fleeting pink petals. Ruskin ^ has 
chosen this plant as an emblem of exquisite pro- 
portion and even balancing of parts ; it will repay 
a little examination. The first whorl of flower 
stems, at about a foot above the water, consists 
of three principal branches, and between each is 
a smaller stem. Eight inches above is a similar 
whorl, but reversed in order, so that the large 
stems come immediately over the small stems 
beneath. The branchlets on each stem are on 
the same plan, and thus the most perfect balance 
is maintained, and the whole flower-spike forms 
a triangular pyramid of elegant form. 

Bur-reed shows its clusters of round prickly 
balls so suggestive of the " caltraps " barbarously 
used on ancient battle-fields to lame the horses. 

Plants and their names have great power of 
association. I seldom see the bur-reed but I 
' " Seven Lamps of Architecture," p. 119. 
10 



1 54 THO UGHTS AT MY LA KE. 

think of far-away times, the spiked iron balls, and 
the din and clash of war. 

Calamus, the sweet-rush, has its own special 
associations. The mention of it in Scripture and 
in classic poetry invests it with an interest for the 
student. 

It is true some writers suggest that a grass * 
of the tribe to which lemon-grass and khus-khus 
belong may have been the " sweet cane " referred 
to by the prophet Ezekiel. For many years this 
plant failed to succeed here, an evil fate seemed 
to pursue it. The first specimen was washed away 
in the overflowing of the lake in winter ; the next 
grew for a little while, but was uprooted by the 
swans ; and the third plant was cleared away by 
accident when the lake was deepened. Now, how- 
ever, a grand mass of it is flourishing and bearing 
its small spiky fruit. Even if this plant proves 
not to be the one mentioned as a component part 
of the sacred incense of Scripture it is certainly 
in use at the present day as an ingredient in the 
manufacture of perfumes. 

The late American writer, Walt Whitman, has 
' Andrflpogoii Calamus Arotnaticus. 



THO UGH TS AT M V LA KE. 1 5 5 

given the name " Calamus " to one of the most 
interesting of his works, taking the aromatic root 
that conceals itself in the waters, and must be 
drawn to the surface at the sacrifice of its pink 
rootlets, to symbolise the most secret and refined 
emotions, timid, elusive, and discoverable only by 
those who have the courage and tact to descend 
to the depths of human nature. 

The yellow flag is making a gay fringe of colour 
along the banks. It is the pretty Fleiir-de-lis of 
France, a near relative of Iris Florentina which 
yields the sweet orris-root used for many fragrant 
purposes. 

Truly this is a place to dream in ! All sights 
and sounds minister to one's happiness. The 
quietude is not oppressive, for the warble of a 
robin, the plaintive cry of a coot, the distant 
laughing note of the woodpecker, these all speak 
of the sweet fellowship of bird-life near at hand. 



" Stillness accompanied with sounds so soft, 
Charms more than silence. Meditation here 
May think down houi-s to moments. Here the heart 
May give a useful lesson to the head, 
And learning- wiser grow without his books." 



1 56 THU UGHTS AT MY LA KE. 

Now a happy little mother bird comes in sight 
A moor-hen, with a tribe of black velvety ducklings 
swimming around her, is stealing in and out of the 
tall reeds, appearing and disappearing as she dives 
under water seeking food and rising to the surface 
at some distance when her breath is spent. Her 
little ones must be very tempting to the great pike 
lurking below ; I fear many a downy babe falls to 
his share during the summer. 

There swims a water-rat or vole, only his 
head visible as he makes a V-shaped ripple 
on the smooth water. I always like to say a 
kind word for the water-vole ; men and boys 
are apt to think that they have done quite 
a meritorious act when they have killed one, as 
though the\- had got rid of a noxious animal; but, 
unlike the land-rat, the vole is a vegetable feeder, 
consuming duckweed, reeds, and rushes, and thus 
it does only good by its innocent life. Any one 
who has watched a vole sitting up like a squirrel, 
making its morning toilette, licking its fur with a 
small red tongue, and cleaning itself like a cat, 
may see at once that its pretty round head is 
quite different from that of the ordinary rat and 



THO UGHTS AT MY LA KE. 1 5 7 

is really more like that of a large bright-e}ecl 
dormouse. 

There is a pleasant sound of falling water as the 
outflow of the lake passes over a sluice close to the 
chalet. The constant stream of water has worn a 
deep hole beyond the barrier, and there one may 
see some baby jack disporting themselves. I once 
captured three of them in a hand net, and they 
lived for some months in my aquarium. I must 
sa}' they were the most stolid, undemonstrative 
young fishes I ever met with. Nothing seemed 
to startle or surprise them, they seldom moved, 
they ate their food drearily, and yet all the while 
they grew fat and flourishing, so I supposed it 
was their nature to be quiescent. However, one 
day an idea did cross the mind of one of them ; 
he experienced a longing to eat one of his friends, 
but as the three were all of the same size, the 
task was a difficult one to carry out ; still he 
made an attempt, and I saw him gravely swimming 
about with a brother in his mouth held crosswise ; 
naturally he made no way, so after careering about 
for a time he dropped his respected relative who 
seemed none the worse for the attack. I thought 



158 THOUGHTS A T MY LAKE. 

after this indication of cannibalism it would be 
decent to let them return to their native pool. 

I am often fascinated by the beauty of reflections 
in water, whether it is onl)' a single rush-stem 
faithfully repeated on a still surface, or the higher 
beauty of the most graceful of birds which "floats 
double — swan and shadow " ! I shall never forget 
seeing a wild swan on one of the Norfolk Broads 
flying past our boat, on and on for a quarter of a 
mile, we could see the beautiful creature perfectly 
mirrored in the lake. It kept close to the surface, 
lazily flapping the great white wings which bore it 
out of our sight. 

Another bird-picture is in my mind. It is one 
which could hardly be surpassed for wealth and 
brilliancy of colour. One evening as the sun was 
setting, I saw a peacock in grand plumage on the 
roof-parapet of Oatlands Park Hotel. The bird 
was restlessly moving up and down, evidently 
about to seek its usual roosting place, which was 
an elm-tree at some little distance. I resolved to 
watch, hoping I should see the lovely creature take 
flight, and in a few minutes it spread its wings and 
tail and sailed away in the full splendour of the 



THOUGHTS A T MY LAKE. l6l 

setting sun — it was a gorgeous sight, almost too 
dazzling to look upon, a thing of beauty never to 
be forgotten. One could imagine how splendid 
such birds must look flying about in Ceylon 
forests where a tropical sun lights up their metallic 
plumage. 

Returning to our own quiet lake, I might speak 
of the reflection of the trees in the smaller piece 
of water behind the chalet, as shown in the plate. 
From its sheltered position the water is seldom 
ruffled by wind, which may account for the re- 
markable sharpness of the shadows thrown by the 
tree-stems on its margin. 

The view of the chalet takes in a plantation of 
foliage trees of specially rich colouring. Golden 
elders, purple beeches, white poplars, variegated 
maples, and the sugar maple of America afford in 
autumn a great variety of tints. Golden elders 
develop a rich chrome yellow early in summer, and 
are often mistaken for flowering shrubs when seen 
from a little distance. I sometimes wonder they 
are not more frequently planted in combination 
with the trees I have mentioned as a means of 
giving variety of colour in park and belt-plantations. 



1 62 THO UGHTS AT MY LAKE. 

Although our house is nearly a quarter of a mile 
away, it stands sufficiently high above the level of 
the lake to be perfectly reflected in it, and at night 
when the windows are illuminated and the water is 
unruffled the effect is charming. The rookery is 
near by, and the pleasant cawing of its tenantry 
gives an additional charm to the quiet hours one 
may spend here. Even in winter there is much to 
see, for then the various migratory birds visit this 
piece of water and make themselves quite at home 
for some months. It is amusing to watch the wild 
ducks, coots, and water-hens trying to walk upon 
the ice and seeming much disconcerted at their 
involuntary slides. 

Gulls occasionally visit us, and when the grass 
in the fields around is growing for hay and all is 
quiet and undisturbed, I have seen as many as ten 
herons quietly fishing or standing motionless in 
the water. Their home is at a reservoir about 
half a mile off; they only visit here, and usually 
but two or three can be seen at once. 

The time to see the lake in full poetic beauty is 
in the evening, when it reproduces the lovely tints 
of sunset on its glassy surface. The eye never 



THOUGHTS AT MY LAKE. 



i6: 



wearies of such a scene. The pun't}' of colour^ 
the variety and intcrmingh'ng of tints, the stiHness, 
the soft grey mist gradually enfolding the land- 
scape, all speak to us of peace and rest. We, too, 
must turn homeward and leave the lake to its 
repose, one last glimpse showing us the rising 
moon throwing a streak of light upon the darken- 
in cr w^ater. 








WHY SIMPLE THIlNGS GIVE US 
PLEASURE. 

"^K^^ TANDING in a country churchyard one 
:^i^m summer s morning, the exquisite beauty 
%T^ of a flowering grass-stem and its clear, 
f^^ bright shadow cast on a white tomb- 
^^ stone set me speculating as to the cause of the 
pleasure I felt in looking at such a simple thing. 

What are the elements of the charm of beauty ? 
and why does the mind sometimes receive a 
greater thrill of delight from the tints and form of 
a, single leaf, a dewy cobweb, a frosted spray, or 

166 




SPIDER S NEST. 



WHY SIMPLE THINGS GIVE US PLEASURE. 169 

even a prismatic dew-drop, than from a magnificent 
hot-house flower or wide-spreading landscape ? I 
still seek an answer to these questions. These 
thoughts have doubtless occurred to many minds ; 
indeed we may continually trace them in poetry, 
in all those simple touches which define minute 
objects as sources of pleasure to the eye or ear. 
In well-known lines Wordsworth says — 

" That to this mountain daisy's self were known 
The beauty of its star-shaped shadow, thrown 
On the smooth surface of this naked stone ! " 

His eye must have been arrested by the loveli- 
ness of shadow form, and his genius enshrined the 
beautiful thing in immortal verse. 

And again, 

" The daisy, by the shadow that it casts, 
Protects the lingering dew-drop from the sun ; " 

and the well-known lines — 

" A violet by a mossy stone, 
Half hidden from the eye, 
Fair as a star when only one 
Is shining in the sky." 

These are lovely examples of delight in simple 
thine^s. 



I70 WHY SIMPLE THINGS GIVE US PLEASURE. 

May one reason be that imagination is called 
into action by some subtile combination of forms 
complete in themselves and yet suggesting other 
thoughts ? Let us apply this test to a de\v-be- 
gemm2d cobweb, to my mind one of the most 
lovely things in nature. Its airy lines, its absolute 
symmetry, its fitness for its purpose, and the 
wonderful fact that it is created by a dull brown, 
hairy creature, all these things flash into the mind 
at once and set it thinking and admiring such 
perfect work and skill. 

A second glance shows us that each thread is 
decked with thousands of minute dewdrops, and 
imagination is again busy picturing the cause of 
this love]}' effect. 

The early morning mists caught by the delicate 
threads, and condensed and held there, add a fresh 
charm to the lacework which waves to and fro in 
the. passing breeze. A single glance at a thing so 
beautiful and perfect cannot fail to give mental 
pleasure. Now let us think of the grass-blade with 
its shadow. Here again there is exquisite beauty 
of form and delicate colour still further enhanced 
by the perfect repetition in the shadow cast upon 



WHY SIMPLE THINGS GIVE US PLEASURE. 171 

the stone, the whiteness of which throws out the 
brilHancy of the dark Hnes caused by the sunrays. 
In this case also there is completeness and the 
possibility of receiving at one glance the perfect 
impression of beauty. The grass has its flower at 
the end of the stalk, which suggests to imagination 
perfected life, the end achieved, and then the fleet- 
ingness of it, brings other and deeper thoughts. 
" The grass withercth, the flower thereof fallcth," 
&c. — truly a fitting text to be preached to us by the 
" green grass " in God's acre. How it speaks of 
man's life with its fragile tenure, so often typified 
in Scripture by this symbol, the waving grass in 
this churchyard with its many graves may well 
give rise to a host of thoughts and preach its own 
eloquent sermon to the passer-by. 

It is curious that I have amongst my treasures 
another " thing of beauty " which is connected 
with both these types. Years ago I found on 
our common a spider's nest formed of a single 
head of feathery grass curled by the spider into 
a perfect imitation of a cathedral crocket. The 
spider lived in the centre of the nest, which was 
woven together with great neatness ; I have kept 



172 IVHY SIMPLE THINGS GIVE US PLEASURE. 

it carefully for many years as one of the most 
poetic fragments of fairy architecture I ever met 
with. Complete and beautiful in itself, I always 
admire the tiny thing and wonder at the skill of 
the artisan. I possess also the nest of a dor- 
mouse made entirely of horse-chestnut leaves ; 
how the little mouse could have constructed such 
a charming work of art will ever remain a puzzle. 
Each leaflet has exactly the same curve, one is 
placed within the other, all the stalks being upper- 
most, and the whole thing is a perfect sphere, so 
where the mouse got inside and how it finished off 
its dwelling it is not easy to divine. 

I am no nearer to the solution of the cause of 
pleasure in simple things, but it is a gift to be 
thankful for if one has the faculty to see the beauty 
and to enjoy it, since it exists everywhere for 
opened eyes in the wide realm of Nature. 





DAME NATURE. 



[HAT a charming beautifier Dame 
Nature is ! She hkes that things 
should harmonise, she knows which 
colours will go together better than do 
^S'^r all the artists in creation, and, what is more, 
she will not have discordant tints in her 
domain if she can possibly help it. If, for instance, 
man chooses to erect a staring new wall of an 
excruciating brick- red, out of all keeping with its 
surroundings, then the old dame rises to the 
occasion, and with a gentle murmur of pity for 




174 DAME NATURE. 

his lack of taste, off she goes to her stores, and 
empties out of the next soft zephyr that is going 
that way, a whole lapful of seeds of lichens and 
mosses ; they fall into the cracks and crannies in 
the wall, finding, it may be, only a little dust to root 
into, but they are patient and hopeful and do their 
best. They drink in the morning and evening 
dews, the life within them begins to stir, and soon 
we see tender films of grey and green beginning to 
tone down the fiery red bricks. A few months pass 
by, and we find these films have grown into patches 
of lichen spreading in circles here and there, soft 
as velvet, and of all shades of delicate colour. Some 
■of these lichens are like a mouse's coat, others pale 
creamy green shading into buff and grc}- ; all 
have some form of fruitfulness in tiny shields or 
cups strewn over the crinkled surface. Then in 
the crevices of the brickwork are the vivid green 
mosses bearing their little brownish-crimson urns 
with waterproof covers, which little beakers will in 
•due time bend downwards and empty their stores 
to enrich still further the bare and barren wall. 
The zephyr came again later on bringing with it a 
supply of the seeds of wallflowers, willowherb 



DAME NATURE. 175 

whitlowgrass and many other plants, which seeds 
were given into the keeping of the mosses and from 
out their rounded cushions young plants, laden 
with flower-buds, are quietly growing up, and soon 
sweet blossoms will give their odours to the zephyr 
to be carried far and wide. 

Thus Nature, dear old beautifier 1 will have 
attained her end and given man's ugly work a 
beauty of her own, so that as the eye wanders 
down the lane past many a tree-trunk mantled 
with ivy, the tinge of red in the wall, softened as it 
is by its veil of lichens and mosses, comes in 
harmoniously, and no longer strikes a jarring note 
in the scale of colour. 

Each year only adds to these beauties until a 
time-worn wall with crumbling bricks held together 
by masses of ivy, decked with the crimson leaves 
of herb robert and masses of yellow and brown 
wallflower, becomes a thing of real beauty. 

The grey lichen-stained wall which forms the 

boundary of many of England's stately homes has 

a voice of its own. It speaks of a long-ago time 

when those who perhaps now lie peacefully sleeping- 

in the churchyard were young and strong and used 

II 



176 DAME NATURE. 

to climb over it in their youthful rambles ; yes, it 
lias its lesson for those who will listen. 

Man lives his short life and passes away ; would 
that his aim were always to make life more 
beautiful for all who live around him. Added 
years only enhance the venerable beauty of trees 
and rocks and hills, they gain touches of colour 
and picturesque beauty of form by the slow 
corroding touch of age, and we can recall many a 
place where 

" Cushioned mosses to the stone 
Their quaint embroidery lent." 

All these things speak of the harmonious power of 
beneficent Nature, and make us grateful to her for 
the silent work she is ever carrying on. May 
we, like her, veiling with tender loving charity 
the harsh and rugged things that meet us in our 
daily life, do all that in us lies to make this world 
of ours fairer, brighter, and happier for all who 
dwell in it ! 



HOME RECREATIONS. 





HOME RECREATIONS. 

SENTENCE read long years ago and 
copied into my extract-book, made a 
lasting impression upon my mind. 

I am sure that I owe to it a great 
deal of the happiness of my life, and, 
as a well-known writer ^ says, " If you happen 
to have a good idea you ought to send it floating 
about in the world to do good to other people." I 
think I shall act upon his suggestion and repeat 
this simple sentence which I have found so helpful 
in my own case. 

' The Rev. P. B. Power. 

179 



I So HOME RECREATIONS. 

It was to this effect, " Be sure and cultivate an 
undergrowth of Httle pleasures, for few great ones, 
alas ! are let on long leases." These " little 
pleasures " must be as various as the minds that 
desire refreshment, therefore in the following pages 
I will endeavour to speak of a few of the things 
that I have found to be pleasant occupations for 
leisure moments in the country, not only enjoyable 
to oneself, but I would hope in some measure 
profitable to others. 

I have spoken of writing one's impressions of 
beautiful scenery, &c., for the refreshment of home 
dwellers ; now I would make some suggestions 
about the possibility of bringing to our fireside 
some of the treasures we may have lighted upon in 
our travels. 

I have a good deal of sympathy with the poor 
man who, living in a dingy street in London, 
possessed but one small window-box in which 
grew a flourishing crop of nettles ! On being 
remonstrated with for growing such common-place 
things, he replied, " Well, but you see they're such 
very fine nettles, and they bring a whiff of the 
country to me as I sit at work." 



HOME R EC RE A TIOXS. 1 8 1 

So, if \vc bring back our plants of sundew from 
some Cornish heath, or gentian from an Alpine 
valley, and watch their delicate beauty unfolding 
day by day ; or, may be, we set up our aquarium or 
Wardian case of ferns, we, too, shall have at hand 
something which will, by its associations, bring 
back to us much of the enjoyment we experienced 
when, during our holiday time, the perfumed air, 
the elastic turf, and the songs of birds, seemed to 
lift us into a new world of pleasurable sensations. 

Hitherto I have spoken only of the personal 
happiness these undergrowths of pleasure can give, 
but far above and beyond that is the aim to bring 
home with us such things as will create happiness 
by other firesides, especially those shadowed by 
long-continued pain and weary confinement within 
four walls. If a family of happy children is taken 
to the seaside (and most people go away from 
home at some time in the year), probably all goes 
on very brightly with the young folks at first, the 
change is delightful, and every day brings some 
fresh excitement, but after a while, if the days are 
passed in merely selfish enjoyment, it is apt to pall, 
and a long spell of wet weather, and no getting out 



i82 HOME RECREATIONS. 

of doors, will bring trying times for the most 
patiently enduring nurse and mother. 

If, however, the children have been trained to 
think in what ways they can cheer and interest the 
invalid "Aunty" at home, by their collections, or by 
preparing some little gift of plants, or shells, or curios 
in some form or other for the poor old dame who 
never can leave her cottage, or for the servants at 
home, their hours in the country, or at the seaside 
will be rendered far happier than if they had 
merely sought how best to enjoy themselves. 
Whilst adding to their own knowledge of natural 
objects they will be learning to make unselfish 
plans for the happiness of others. 

" For we must share if we would keep 
That good thing from above, 
Ceasing to give we cease to have, 
Such is the law of love." 





HOME MUSEUMS. 



No. r. 



^•^^^^T^ ENUINE students and lovers of nature 
^l^l^^' — indeed, any of us who find it a duty 
^^%^ as well as a pleasure to learn as 
fe^ much as possible of the mystery and 
^ beauty of the Divine Wisdom revealed 
to us therein — will never be satisfied with mere 
book knowledge of the wonderful world in which 

we have been placed. The dweller in the country 

185 



1 86 HOME MUSEUMS. 

lives all day in a vast storehouse, in which the 
Creator shows us His works, which we roughly 
divide into animal, vegetable, and mineral king- 
doms, each in its natural relation to the others, 
each helping in the formation and support of the 
others. There is never any possibility that a dried 
and stuffed and ticketed collection, no matter how 
extensive, can give us teaching like this. But too 
often those who have most opportunities of wan- 
dering in the vast divinely-constructed museum of 
nature heed it the least. It has often given me 
the greatest pleasure to see, in the many thousands 
of Londoners I have welcomed here, a keen appre- 
ciation of the "common things" of the country. 
The woods, the gardens, the lake, give my visitors 
innumerable objects for wonder and admiration, 
just as new to them as the interesting pets from 
foreign lands, and the collection of curiosities from 
all parts of the world, which, by the help of kind 
friends and correspondents, I have been gathering 
together for many a year. 

For those who cannot study nature "at home '* 
in the country, there are now extensive and well- 
arranred collections accessible to all. The grand 



HOME MUSEUMS. 187 

Natural History Museum at South Kensington, 
the splendid Museums of Botany at Kew, and the 
great collection of minerals in the School of Mines 
in Jermyn Street — these, or any of these, will give 
opportunities for months of study, with increased 
pleasure and knowledge every day. But however 
much we may use our opportunities of study, 
either in the fields, woods, or in the great national 
collections, most nature students will like to have 
some private collection of their own, to which 
they may turn in leisure moments, or which they 
may re-arrange on a rainy afternoon. Almost 
every article in such a collection will have for them 
some private association — the mode in which they 
acquired it, the locality in which it was found, the 
friends, perhaps now no longer here, who shared 
their delight in securing the prize. 

I can speak from practical experience of the 
great pleasure of possessing a home museum, and, 
believing that others may welcome a little infor- 
mation on the subject, I will try and give some 
simple suggestions which will enable those who are 
anxious to do so, to make collections of their 
own ; it is an easier and more inexpensive matter 



1 88 HOME MUSEUMS. 

than might be supposed, and I can truly say it 
affords a hfe-long source of interest. 

My Httle museum had, like many other things, 
a very small beginning. As there was plenty of 
space on the walls of the billiard-room, I had a 
case made to contain specimens of nuts and seeds 
which had been stored up in various cupboards 
and boxes about the house. These objects, neatly 
arranged and named, were hung up in a wall- 
case, and formed the nucleus of the future col- 
lection. 

As I have taken an interest from my earliest 
years in all kinds of foreign seeds, such as those 
of palm-trees, tropical plants, fruits, &c., friends 
were often kind enough to give me any they had 
obtained in their travels abroad. Some I met with 
in various shops ; and thus in time I had sufficient 
to fill one side of a wall-case, measuring four feet 
by two feet, with a glass front. In the opposite 
side of the case I thought it would be interesting 
to arrange specimens of many kinds of drugs used 
in making ordinary medicines. I therefore ob- 
tained from chemists such articles as castor-oil 
seeds, a piece of Turkey rhubarb, specimens of 



HOME MUSEUMS. 189 

different barks from which quinine and other 
tonics are made, colocynth gourd, aloes, manna, 
and a great number of gums and other substances 
which arc required in the healing art, not for- 
getting a few blister beetles and cochineal insects. 

The case was lined with white paper, and 
divided into columns by thin slips of beading, 
nailed down with small brads. These columns 
were again divided horizontally by beading, thus 
leaving little spaces three inches by two, in each of 
which a specimen was placed, with its name and 
special use affixed. It was a great interest to 
me to read about all these medical drugs, to learn 
where they were obtained, and how prepared and 
used, and many a happy hour has been spent in 
explaining about them to the hundreds of poor 
people who come from dreary homes in London to 
spend long summer days in my place. My own 
visitors, too, often plead for a chat in the museum 
when kept indoors by wet weather. 

The next case contains a little of everything, 
and is intended to show how teachers in schools 
may be greatly assisted by having specimens of 
whatever they are speaking upon to show the 



I90 - HOME MUSEUMS. 

children, and be thus helped to retain their atten- 
tion. 1 have made several of these " object lesson 
cases " for national schools, and always find them 
most gratefully received. As I have already fully 
described how these cases are made in a little 
book easily obtainable.^ I will not here go into 
further details. 

1 may create a smile when I speak of my 
" skullery " as being the next object of interest we 
come to in the museum ; but what else can I call a 
collection of more than a hundred skulls ? They 
are mostly those of birds, ranging from the eagle 
to the wren, and from the swan to the stormy 
petrel. 

When one speaks of the study of anatomy, the 
word seems to suggest something that can only 
belong to medical student life — something quite 
beyond the reach of young people, and possibly 
not desirable even if it could be attained. I think 
there is, however, a word to be said for the intelli- 
gent study of bone-structure, which, from my early 
childhood, has always possessed a singular fascina- 
tion for me. The skull of a bird neatly prepared, 
' " Home Work for Willing Hearts." S.P.C.K. 



HOME MUSEUMS. 191 

•white as iv'ory, perfect and beautiful in its adapta- 
tion to the conditions of the bird's hfe ; a portion 
of the spine of a fish, cleaned and dried before the 
fire, showing the man}' joints which make it 
flexible, the hollow for the spinal marrow, and the 
bones to protect it from injury ; the foot of a mole, 
with its intricate structure ; these and endless 
other quite simple preparations would afford young 
people hours of delightful study. The bones, once 
prepared, can be labelled with English and Latin 
names, and kept in the home museum ready to 
be shown to young friends, or made the foundation 
of elementary lectures to country lads and parties 
of poor people. It has sometimes been my plea- 
sant occupation during long winter evenings to 
meet about twenty or thirty boys at our village- 
room, and, taking my collection of prepared 
animal and bird skulls, I try to explain in very 
simple language the various interesting things that 
can be learnt from them. The boys give very 
close attention, and look with such eagerness at 
each little bone as I hold it up and talk about 
it, that I long to give them each a specimen to 
take home as a reward for their goodness in sitting 



192 HOME MUSEUMS. 

quietly as long as I am able to stay to talk to 
them. 

The only articles required for preparing skeletons 
are these : a small saucepan, a penknife, a carpet- 
pin, and a nail-brush. Suppose we ask for the head 
of a duck from the larder, either with feathers on 
or without will not matter. We place it in the 
saucepan filled with hot water, and let it boil 
gently about twenty minutes. By that time it 
should be possible to take off all the flesh, and by 
rinsing the head and carefully using the brush, at 
length we obtain a clean skull, which will only 
need to be dried before the fire or in the sun until 
whitened, and then it will be ready for the museum 
shelves. The brain is easily got rid of by insert- 
ing the head of the pin through the orifice at the 
back of the skull, and working it about until, by 
constant rinsing, the head is emptied. The lower 
half of the beak should be cleaned separately, 
and, when dry, a small indiarubber band will keep 
it in its place. A label with English and Latin 
name should be attached at once, else after a time 
one may not be able to tell the exact species when 
numerous skulls are arranged side by side. 



HOME MUSEUMS. 193 

Tl.e length of time a head should be boiled 
must vary much, according to the size of the 
specimen, and this can only be learned by ex- 
perience. A tobin or a mouse's head only needs 
about ten minutes, and if overdone will fall to 
pieces. Some animal skulls are extremely diffi- 
cult to prepare ; the mole, for instance, requires 
very delicate handling, else the fragile cranium 
comes to pieces; yet it is well worth taking trouble 
to obtain a perfect specimen, for the jaws are fur- 
nished with such formidable rows of teeth that they 
suggest those of a miniature crocodile, and one can 
well understand from them, the mole's power of 
crunching worms and fighting with its own species. 
It is very instructive to place on the same card 
the upper and lower jaws of a shrew and a house 
mouse ; one can then see how they differ, the 
former being insectivorous and flesh-eating, and 
the latter, belonging to the rodentia, able, with its 
powerful front teeth, to gnaw through wooden 
planks and find its way into store-closets, as the 
housekeeper often finds to her cost. 

Another interesting preparation is a bullock's 
foot. We should order from the butcher what is 



194 HOME MUSEUMS. 

called an ox-hecl, and ask the cook to boil it 
as she would to make a shape of calf's-foot 
jelly. When this is done the heel will be still 
intact, and we can begin to take it to pieces ; 
and as each bone is cleaned it must be placed on 
a large sheet of paper, and one after another each 
one must be replaced next to its fellow, and never 
moved again until dry and white. Then, having 
a piece of cardboard large enough to take in the 
whole foot when placed lengthwise, we may begin 
with a needle and stout thread to tack down each 
bone in its place, till the whole is completed. 
When I am showing my museum to a group of 
poor people, I always draw their attention to the 
bullock's foot, and enjoy their amazement at the 
way in which the bones fit in, the velvet softness 
of the joint surfaces, and the sculptured beauty 
of the shank bone. 

Subjects for anatomy are very easily obtained, 
the turkey at Christmas, the goose at Michaelmas, 
the game birds in constant use, the rabbit and 
hare, all afford interesting skulls, and their feet are 
also worth retaining, since if nailed to a board 
and dried before the fire thc}' will when named 



HOME MUSEUMS. 195 

and arranged add interesting items to the museum 
walls. 

In the heads of cod, haddock, whiting (and 
possibly many other fishes), two small snowy-white 
bones are to be found, one in either half of the 
skull. They are supposed to assist the power of 
hearing and are called otoliths or ear-bones. The 
skull must be broken carefully to pieces to find 
them, they lie in the two cavities in the back part of 
the head and resemble very small white almonds. 

These bones are well worth preserving for 
several reasons. Those of each individual species, 
neatly mounted on a card, form an interesting 
museum specimen, as they vary in shape and size 
in different fishes, and are unlike any other bones 
I am acquainted with. 

Then they also have an artistic use. I collected 
these otoliths for several years till I had a suffi- 
cient quantity, and then they helped to make a very 
original banner-screen. If five of them are placed 
starwise they form a perfect jasmine flower, and 
sprays of green beetle's wings on a ground of rich 
dark coloured satin or velvet, with these jasmine 
flowers introduced have a charming effect. Each 



196 HOME MUSEUMS. 

otolith and beetle-wing must first be neatly tacked 
in its place with fine white and green silk and 
then gold braid sewn round each so as to hold 
them firmly in place, the braid thus forming the 
stems of the sprays. A ^qw delicately embroidered 
butterflies, studied from nature, will add colour 
enough to make a very agreeable work of art. 

Beautiful white bones are to be found in the 
brown outside skin of a large turbot, and these 
also would be worth preserving to be used in 
needlework. They are like tiny morsels of hoar- 
frost, white and delicate ; they only need to be 
soaked in hot water to get rid of the gelatinous 
skin in which they have been embedded and this 
is easily cleaned away with a nail brush. Two 
stitches with fine white silk will affix them to 
any textile material and in combination with 
embroidery and gold thread very pretty effects 
may be obtained. 

I once picked up a dead swallow, and with great 
care it was at last prepared whole and fastened to 
a card. A truly wonderful little skeleton it proved 
to be, so fragile and delicate that a careless touch 
would crush it in a moment, and yet when alive 



HOME MUSEUMS. 197 

the possessor of that tiny frame could wing its way, 
mile after mile across the sea, seeking by unerring 
instinct some warmer land in which to pass the 
winter. 

Thus gaining insight into the formation of the 
wonderful creature we call a bird, which, in all its 
parts, is a miracle of contrivance and adaptation 
to special ends, must surely increase our love and 
reverence not only for birds but, indeed, for all 
living things, since in whatever direction we may 
pursue our studies we are met with such evidences 
of Divine wisdom and skill that a thoughtful mind 
is filled with wonder and praise. I must always 
maintain that leading the young to investigate 
these things for themselves in a reverent spirit can- 
not fail to minister greatly to their present pleasure 
and eventual mental profit. 

The facial line in birds is most interesting. I 
am not learned on the subject, but following 
Camper's ideas I find that it is usually those birds 
with an upright skull that possess the most intelli- 
gence. A line drawn from the tip of the beak of 
a blue-tit to the apex of the skull will show a far 
higher angle than the same test applied to the head 



198 HOME MUSEUMS. 

of a willow wren or tree creeper, and charming as 
the two latter birds are they have not a quarter of 
the " nous " of the clever little tit. The possession 
of a collection of skulls opens the way to many 
an interesting line of study in connection with the 
living birds and their ways as seen in our gardens 
and fields. 

The study of bone structure tends to cultivate 
many useful qualities. Neat handedness is very 
essential, for one clumsy touch may simply mar 
an hour's careful work. 

Patience will also be developed, as I can testify ! 
I once placed some small skulls in a pan of water 
in the garden in order that they might skeletonise 
by soaking. They were nearly ready to be washed 
and cleaned when a family of enterprising ducks 
found out the pan and reduced my skulls to a 
delicate mince. Occasionally I have over-boiled 
some rare head and then I knew that having 
spoiled this one I might have to wait for months 
or years before I could obtain another. 

All these disappointments are teachings, and a 
true naturalist is never discouraged. " Everything 
comes to him who knows how to wait" is an ex- 



HOME MUSEUMS. I99 

tremely true saying. I know hardly any better cor- 
rective for the natural impatience of youth than the 
steady plodding work involved in carr}-ing out any 
of the branches of study I am endeavouring in this 
simple book to bring to the notice of young people. 
If their elders will take kindly interest in the 
first crude attempts children make to follow my 
directions, by showing sympathy and providing the 
few requisites enumerated, they will be rewarded 
by the knowledge that their young people are being 
led into new sources of happiness and are laying 
the foundation of healthy tastes which may stand 
them in good stead all through their future life. 





HOME MUSEUMS. 



No. 2. 

l[5?^ EFORE speaking of the cases of 
minerals in my museum, I will try to 




explain how easily such objects may 
"^j) be kept and shown without hav'ing ex- 

^^ pensive cabinets to contain them, which 
is often a difficulty in the path of young 
mineralogists. Supposing there is but limited 
space, small shelves three inches wide, and three 
or four inches apart, can be made of plain deal, 
stained brown, and fixed against the wall, with 
glass doors to keep out dust. Any carpenter can 



HOME MUSEUMS. 201 

carry out this plan at very little cost. An im- 
mense number of specimens can thus be arranged, 
:ind are much more readily seen in this way than 
in the drawers of a cabinet. 

There is, to my thinking, an unfailing interest 
about stones of all sorts and kinds. They reveal 
so much about the history of our country, and tell 
us in a mute sort of way that they are the remains 
of long past ages, and have survived all kinds of 
upheavals, glacial periods, and changes of temper- 
ature. Wherever one may happen to be, some- 
thing can be picked up in the way of minerals for 
the shelves of the home museum, and those fossils 
or stones which we have ourselves discovered will 
always be reckoned far more valuable than any 
bought specimens. On this north side of London, 
where we live on very high ground, which was 
once covered by the sea, the pebbles are all 
rounded by attrition, and many are brittle and 
full of cracks from their great age ; some polish 
well and show beautiful colours and veinings ; 
others contain impressions of fossil shells and 
sponges. The ventriculites, it is true, are generally 
broken in the middle ; indeed, it is rare to find 



202 HOME MUSEUMS. 

any perfect fossils, but even the pieces are worth 
preserving, as they can be compared with the 
perfect forms figured in geological books. The 
flints, with cavities filled with quartz crystals are 
of many forms and sparkle brightly. Chalcedony 
and jasper can be picked up in our roads. Large 
masses of pudding stone occur in the fields, and 
when cut in half they take a high polish. A 
large artificial cave in the grounds here is mainly 
formed of blocks of this stone. Now, our neigh- 
bourhood is not by any means rich in minerals, but 
I instance the foregoing to prove that even here,, 
stores for the home museum may be found and 
utilised. No doubt in other places a far greater 
variety could be obtained. 

Most people have several " outings " in the course 
of the year, when usually there would be oppor- 
tunities for collecting many kinds of specimens — 
fossils from the chalk or the lias, granites from 
Cornwall or Scotland, ores from any of the mining 
districts, pebbles from the seacoast ; all these and 
many more can be obtained in our own country,, 
and of course a foreign trip would afford a much 
wider range of possibilities for acquiring geological 
specimens. 



HOME MUSEUMS. 205 

The classifying and arranging the minerals thus 
obtained in various ways forms a delightful occu- 
pation for intelligent young people when kept 
indoors during the holidays by wet weather, and 
it is pleasant to watch the keen interest with which 
fresh specimens are welcomed and talked over, 
each one having, perhaps, its own personal history. 
This is the case with my own mineral possessions ; 
one stone was picked up in the bed of an Alpine 
stream and always recalls to me the beauties of 
scenery, the purity of air, and the sweet scents I 
enjoyed during that mountain ramble. The lime- 
stone fossils speak to me of picturesque Derbyshire, 
with its wonderful caverns, stalactites, and crystals. 
Jaspers of every shade made up the beach at 
Aberystwith, and a glance at the polished speci- 
mens I brought home with me from that shore 
never fails to bring back to my memory the soft 
blue distances of the Welsh hills and the grand 
masses of the old Silurian rocks. My knowledge 
of geology being but very elementary, I had often 
found it difficult to ascertain the names of my 
specimens, even with the aid of books. I was. 
therefore glad to discover that any professional 



204 HOME MUSEUMS. 

mineralogist will correctly name one's treasures 
for the small sum of one penny each. When this 
is done, the classifying becomes comparatively 
easy. If one watches for opportunities, small 
pieces of minerals, never likely to be found by 
oneself, are easily obtained by inquiring for a 
working lapidary's shop. It will probably be 
found in a back street, kept often by a poor 
working man, who will be glad enough to obtain 
and cut small specimens of whatever we are 
seeking. As a rule it is best to avoid the showy 
lapidary shops at the seaside, as they are apt, as a 
rule, to be high-priced and unsatisfactory. 

I find the inner tray of ordinary matchboxes a 
very convenient receptacle in which to place small 
stones or crystals. The trays being all of one 
size and shape, they fit in rows and take up little 
space ; when re-papercd, with some white cotton 
wool at the bottom, they look neat and keep the 
minerals from getting mixed. 

Models of foreign fruits occupy the next wall 
case, and with them are some huge pods of tropical 
plants, such as the Entada, or sword bean of the 
East and West Indies. This is said to attain a 



HOME MUSEUMS. 205 

length of from six to eight feet, and its seeds arc 
converted by the natives into snuff-boxes, scent- 
bottles, spoons, &c. I have a coco de mcr, or 
double cocoa-nut, the fruit of a tree which is only 
found growing on two islands of the Seychelles 
group, and in which the late General Gordon took 
a special interest. He greatly lamented that this 
magnificent palm is gradually being eradicated by 
the constant felling of the trees to obtain the nuts, 
and urged that steps should be taken before it is 
too late to hinder the thoughtless destruction of 
such a rare and noble tree. The palm itself takes 
a century to come to maturity, and the nut, al- 
though it attains its full size in four years, requires 
ten years to be fully perfected, when it weighs 
about forty pounds. 

The other specimens in the case are a dried 
baobab fruit, a pod twenty-six inches in length, 
containing the seeds of some unknown plant, 
models of the banana and breadfruit, a piece of 
the stem of some ivy, grown here, which measures 
eighteen inches in circumference, and a portion of 
ancient papyrus on cardboard. I may here mention 
that any one who happens to have papyrus grow- 



2o6 HOME MUSEUMS. 

ing in a greenhouse tank, can very easily make 
paper from it if so disposed. I have succeeded in 
making some which exactly resembles that used 
by the Egyptians. If the stem is cut into six- 
inch lengths, the green bark sliced off, and the 
rest cut with a sharp razor into thin layers and 
placed on clean white paper, a row of the slices 
touching each other, continued to whatever length 
is desired, then another row placed over these 
transversely, leaving no gaps, and the whole 
pressed quickly between sheets of white glazed 
paper, it becomes a mass of thin pulp. The 
glutinous juice of the plant makes the separate 
pieces adhere, and if carefully lifted to fresh 
paper and well ironed until dry, the manufacture 
will be a success. If the pulp, covered by the 
paper above and below is placed between two 
sheets of millboard one can then stand upon it, 
and ensure its being well pressed. It can be 
written upon with an ordinary pen, without sizing 
or any further preparation. 

With regard to fruits, I may mention that many 
curious specimens may be obtained by asking a 
fruiterer, when purchasing at some of the im- 



HOME MUSEUMS. 207 

porters' warehouses, to reserve such things as the 
Brazil-nut as it is gathered, i.e., a large woody 
fruit, containing from eighteen to twenty-four of 
the triangular nuts. Most people express surprise 
when told that the nuts grow in this kind of 
wooden box, as they are seldom sold in the outer 
case. The cocoa-bean grows in a similar manner, 
in a long, hard-shelled pod. It is possible in this 
way also to obtain from the importers of foreign 
fruits a cocoa-nut with its outer case on, beginning 
to grow, and sending out a green shoot. If the 
nut is planted in a large pot and kept in heat one 
may see the very interesting growth of a baby 
cocoa-palm, so beautifully described by Kingsley 
in his book, " At Last." Amongst the things sold 
by Whiteley are long stems of sugar-cane newly 
imported. These are worth possessing as showing 
the structure of grass on a large scale, but I would 
add a word of caution about handling the leaves. 
They are covered with minute spicules which, 
entering the pores of the skin, are apt to cause 
great pain and discomfort. 

I think I have said enough to show how, in 
various ways, one may keep enriching one's col- 
lection. A visit to a new place always suggests 



2o8 HOME MUSEUMS. 

to my mind fresh chances of meeting with curios, 
and thus the possession of a home museum gives 
a pleasant interest to our walks, whether they are 
in town or country. 

It may interest my readers if I give a short 
description of the picture of my museum and the 
articles shown in it. The little animal on the left 
was a charming Indian gazelle I obtained from 
Jamrach in the autumn of 1890. It was a tame 
and delightful pet, and seemed well and happy for 
a few months. As winter came on it was sheltered 
in the conservatory, warmly clothed, and well 
cared for, but the exceptional cold of that winter 
brought on lung disease, and to my regret it died. 
The Egyptian lizard, Rameses, is in the glass case 
on the table, behind the gazelle, and by it, is the 
beautiful bronze wing of an Eg}ptian goose, 
mounted as a screen. The flamingo standing by 
the door came from the banks of the Nile. The 
swan was for many years a tenant of my lake, but 
some cruel poacher shot the poor bird, and left it 
lying on the bank half dead. An albatross' head, 
given me by a grateful Cornish woman, hangs in 
the recess, and on the wall above arc a grand pair 
of ox-horns from Calcutta. In the shelves at the 



HOME MUSEUMS. 209 

end of the room are geological specimens, and an 
interesting collection of foreign seeds and grains, 
of which I have spoken, as coming to me from 
Kew. Impe\', the bat, hangs over my "skullcry," 
and be)'ond the limits of the picture on that side 
of the room are the object-lesson case, and that 
containing medical specimens, seeds of palms and 
nuts. The carved gourd was sent from Sierra 
Leone, and next to it, the head, with its formidable 
jaws and rows of teeth, is that of a gavial, a kind 
of alligator found in the Ganges. The model of 
a church was made, and given to me by a Stan- 
more villager. Under a glass shade is a very 
perfect specimen oT a wasp's nest, which was taken 
from the roof of a house in our village, and kindly 
sent to my museum. The square case at the far 
end of the billiard-table contains some interesting 
worked flints, celts, and curios from India, these 
with the ram's head, a pair of African sandals and 
Turkish slippers, a lizard, a Palestine sickle, and 
Bethlehem woman's striped drc?s, comprise the 
chief objects visible upon the table, and are most 
of them gifts from kind friends, of whom they are 
very pleasant mementos. 




OBJECT LESSONS IN MUSEUM 
MAKING. 

f^OR those who are students of natural 
history there can hardly be a greater 
treat than a visit to the South Kensing- 
ton Museum. It would take many 
visits to form even a general idea of such a 
vast collection. One may, of course, stroll through 
each gallery as hundreds of people do in all 
museums, merely glancing at the cases and 
seeing that one is filled with birds, and another 
with butterflies, but no intelligence is awakened, as 
one may gather by the blank stare, and the quick 
passing on to something else. 




OBJECT LESSONS IN MUSEUM MAKING. 211 

Such visitors leave the place no wiser than they 
came. A whole day given to one gallery would be 
all too little to enable one to learn fully about its 
contents ; but a great deal might be enjoyed and 
much information canied away as the result of 
patient, thoughtful study of w^hatever single de- 
partment of natural science we might choose. 

There are excellent guide-books and catalogues 
of almost all the galleries, and others are in pre- 
paration. In these books we may find all needful 
information, and following the cases in order, 
catalogue in hand, we cannot fail to be struck with 
the thought and care which must have been given 
to the arrangement of the specimens so as to present 
them in consecutive order ; the special beauty or 
interest connected with each thing being clearly 
shown, so that the dullest student cannot fail to 
learn anything he wishes to ascertain. 

The Central Hall, with its grand skeleton of the 
cachelot or spermaceti whale, is one of the most 
attractive parts of the museum. It is an introduc- 
tion to the other galleries, and ought to be well 
studied before we go further on. There are five 
ba}'S on either side of it, and though not yet fully 



2 1 2 OBJECT LESSONS IN M USEUM MAKING. 

completed, the collections in them are already 
invaluable to the young student of natural history. 

The general guide-book gives a brief explanation 
of the aim and intention of the various preparations 
in these cases, but probably a special catalogue will 
be issued in time, so that the vast amount of informa- 
tion which can be gained from them may be made 
more available for young and unlearned visitors. 

We will first take a glance at each of the eight 
cases in the centre, which contain interesting 
illustrations of various phases of development. 

In the first case are grouped the many varieties 
of pigeons which have been derived b\- cultivation 
from the rock dove : fantails, pouters, jacobins, S:c., 
dissimilar though they may be in form and 
colouring, being simply the result of cross-breeding 
and domestication. 

In the second case on the right we see the 
plumage of the carrion and hooded crow. Each 
species exists in a certain geographical zone, and 
when they reach its confines they arc apt to pair 
with each other, and the result appears in the parti- 
coloured birds here shown. The same thing seems 
also to occur in the case of goldfinches. By refer- 



OBJECT LESSONS IN MUSEUM MAKING. 213 

ence to the coloured maps placed in the case, the 
region where each species is found can be clearly 
traced. 

The third case shows instances of melanism, i.e.^ 
animals and birds jet black instead of their natural 
colour. Here are grouped a black leopard, hare, 
rabbit, squirrel, bullfinch, yellow-hammer, &c. 

The fourth case contains instances of albinism 
such as a white squirrel, pheasant, jackdaw, black- 
bird and starling. 

The fifth case is a miniature Egyptian desert, 
peopled with the animals and birds which are 
naturally found there, showing how exactly they 
resemble in colouring the yellow sandy rocks 
and stones amongst which they are found. The 
upper half of this case is devoted to instances, 
of mimicry. Butterflies are shown so exactly- 
resembling dead leaves that one has to look very 
closely to see which are the insects, on the spray of 
faded foliage on which they are arranged. The 
inner side of the wings is so brilliant in colouring 
that the butterfly could hardly escape from the 
pursuit of birds but for this remarkable provision 
for its protection. Caterpillars are shown as stiff 



2 1 4 OBJ EC T LESSONS IN MUSE UM MAKING. 

and straight as the twigs they simulate. Grass- 
hoppers, too, brilHant scarlet in hue when flying, 
but grey as the rock on which they rest, when 
their wings are folded. 

W. this time, when the theory of " protective 
mimicry " is occupying the attention of naturalists 
more, perhaps, than any other, the young student 
will be anxions to see these specimens which make 
it easy for him to understand the basis of that 
theory. It was Mr. Bates who first started the 
idea that the curious resemblance which can be 
traced between some eatable and some uneatable 
butterflies, was designed to make hungry birds 
imagine that the former were the latter. Since 
then an enormous amount of material has been 
put together, with the view of establishing and 
extending this view of protective mimicry. 

For instance, there will be found clear-wing 
moths and flics, of a perfectly unarmed kind, which 
seem closely to imitate the dangerous hornet, bee, 
or gnat. 

Other resemblances seem intended to conceal, 
rather than to warn off enemies. There are very 
minute moths which resemble the droppings of 



OBJECT LESSONS IN MUSEUM MAKING. 215 

birds on leaves, and others which arc so exactly 
of the same tint as the lichens on which they rest 
in the daytime, that it requires a very careful 
search to discover them. 

When Virgil and other ancient writers speak of 
bees hatched out of animal carcases, there is no 
doubt that they were deceived by resemblances to 
bees in flies. Young collectors will find that this 
hypothesis of " protective mimicry " adds a charm 
to their personal collecting, but they must not be 
in quite so great a hurry as some very learned men 
have been in asserting that natural selection is re- 
sponsible for those curious resemblances. 

In the sixth case are animals and birds which 
are either habitually white, or become so in winter 
from the cftect of extreme cold. 

The seventh case shows adaptation of colouring 
to surrounding conditions, willow-grouse, ptar- 
migan, &c., with plumage harmonising exactly with 
the lichened ground in summer, and in winter turn- 
ing white. 

The eighth case shows variations of the plumage 
of different sexes of birds at various seasons. This 
is strikingly illustrated by the dainty little collars 
put on by the ruffs at their mating time. 



2i6 OBJECT LESSONS IN MUSEUM MAKING. 

Shall we now examine the recesses and see what 
they each contain ? 

The first bay to the left as we enter the Central 
Hall is devoted to skeletons of those creatures 
which possess a vertebra or backbone. We cannot 
fail to admire the exquisite whiteness of the pre- 
parations, and the care with which every bone in a 
baboon is arranged in its proper place in the body, 
with the name attached. This is truly an object 
lesson in anatomy, and near it are other skeletons, 
such as those of a bat, a sloth, an antelope, and a 
porpoise. In each of these one sees the modifica- 
tion of the osseous framework to suit the habits of 
the animal. In the bat the finger bones are 
immensely lengthened so as to admit of the delicate 
membrane being stretched out over them, by means 
of which the animal attains the power of bird-like 
flight. 

In the case of the sloth the limbs are reduced to 
mere hooks, by which the creature hangs from the 
boughs of trees in which it passes its life. 

The baboon's skeleton shows the animal walking 
on all four limbs, its hands as well as its feet planted 
flat upon the ground. The antelope is shown 



OBJECT LESSONS /A MUSEUM MAKING. 217 

Standing on the tips of the toes of its slender feet. 
In the porpoise, the fore Hmbs are converted into 
paddles, and the ofifice of the legs is performed by 
the tail. 

One well versed in anatomy can easily guess by 
a glance at a skeleton what kind of life the creature 
is fitted for. There is a remarkable instance of 
this in the first discovery of the dinornis. Pro- 
fessor Owen had brought to him from New 
Zealand what was apparently an old marrow bone, 
about six inches in length, and rather more than 
two inches in thickness ; and when he had carefully 
examined this unpromising fragment, he ventured 
to prophesy that it not only belonged to a bird, but 
to a bird that was unable to fly — a gigantic, wing- 
less bird, far heavier than the ostrich ; and he 
prophesied truly. 

In the museum of the College of Surgeons stands 
the skeleton of the dinornis, and at its feet rests this 
old bone ; while in the transactions of the Zoologi- 
cal Society for 1839, are the conclusions arrived at 
on the old bone, before the skeleton of the entire 
bird had arrived in England. How one would 
have liked to have had a glimpse of this huge bird 



2 1 8 OBJECT LESSONS IN MUSE UM MA KING. 

whose height is said to have been ten feet ! One 
may form some idea of its majestic size from 
seeing the skeletons which. wiH be found at the far 
end of the Paleontological Gallery, on the ground 
floor of this museum. There also may be seen the 
fossil eggs of an allied species, the aepyornis from 
Madagascar, each of which is said to hold about 
two gallons of water. 

We have not yet noticed, in the first bay, the 
human skeleton and skull with every minute portion 
displayed and named^ the foot of the lion showing 
the sheaths into which the claws can be retracted 
just as when our pussy makes her foot into a 
" velvet paw," and the interesting series devoted to 
the feet of the horse, showing how the original 
five fingers of the typical skeleton are modified 
into two in the ox, and only one in the horse's 
hoof. 

The centre case in this bay contains specimens 
of teeth suited for eating fish, flesh, insects, and 
grass. 

If we happen to have prepared the skull of a 
rat and seen the long curved sockets which con- 
tain the powerful incisors, then this case will delight 



OBJECT LESSONS IN MUSEUM MAKING. 219 

the student by showing much larger examples of 

the same plan. 

SECOND BAY. 

In this we find the various developments of 
skins, plates, horns and hair of animals. There 
are here shown some of the so-called flying animals 
which, by means of expansions of skin on either 
side, are able to sustain themselves in the air 
after the manner of a parachute. 

The curious armadillo with its bony plates, a 
fine specimen of the porcupine, and instances of 
stiff outer coats of hairs covering a soft warm fur 
beneath are well shown in many examples. 
Various horns of oxen, goats, and antelopes are 
divided to show the interior formation. 

Looking at the section of the ox-horns one 
shudders to think of the agony of suffering the 
animal must endure when its horns are sawn off 
near the skull, and then seared with a hot iron to 
stop the bleeding. This operation, called dishorn- 
ing, has long been the custom in Scotland, and is 
justified on the plea that the long horned cattle 
injure each other when closely packed for transit. 
To some extent this may be true, but surely this 



220 OBJECT LESSONS IN MUSEUM MAKING. 

difficulty might be obviated by sawing off a short 
piece of the horn (not far enough to reach the 
tender core) and then affixing rounded tips which 
would effectually prevent the animal goring its 
neighbours. I earnestly hope the law will be so 
altered as to make this cruel practice entirely illegal. 

A series of horns arranged on the wall, shows 
the annual growth and shedding of the antlers of 
the deer. 

THIRD BAY. 

This recess is full of interest to all bird lovers, 
for ever}' part of a bird's structure may here be 
studied from exquisite examples of all kinds. The 
great albatross looks down with expanded wings, 
showing one of the grandest of our sea birds. 
The skeleton of an ostrich is contrasted with that 
of a tiny humming-bird, and the frigate bird, which 
possesses the longest wing- bones, is contrasted with 
the apter}'x, which is really wingless, the bones 
being only rudimentary. The emu also has wings 
so small as to be practically useless. 

In the centre case may be seen the various parts 
of birds admirably displayed. I would strongly 
urge all young people to learn the names given to 



OBJECT LESSONS EV MUSEUM MAKING. 221 

the different portions of the pkimage of birds ; 
such as the primarj^, secondary, and tertiary, 
series of wing-feathers, the tail- coverts, lIc, the 
meaning of the cere and lore and other terms ; 
then, in future, the descriptions of birds, in boolcs 
of travel or observation, will be both intelligible 
and interesting. 

After careful study of this special case, and 
making notes of the various names given, it might 
be found instructive to obtain a dead fowl with its 
feathers on, and identify each part according to 
the notes made, and any forgotten names can be 
ascertained by a second visit to the museum. I 
could linger long over this subject, so wonderful 
are the adaptations of beaks, bones, feet and 
feathers to the needs of each bird, but I hope 
I have said enough to induce many readers to go 
and see tor themselves what I can but feebly 
describe. 

It is scarcely necessary to go further in detail. 
My object is not to describe all that is to be found 
in each of these notable and richly-stocked depart- 
ments, but to indicate to young collectors how they 
should use their eyes, and to supply a few hints to 



222 OBJECT LESSONS IN MUSEUM MAKING. 

guide them in the path of observation. Hence I 
shall but briefly suggest that in the fourth bay they 
will find a perfect skeleton of a large snake, pre- 
parations showing the growth of a frog from the 
&^^, through its varied changes, to the perfect form, 
and many specimens of reptilia. 

In the fifth bay fishermen will find that all the 
parts of the tribes they pursue in sport can be fully 
studied, and the young collector will perhaps en- 
viously gaze at the superb skeleton of a blue shark ; 
but I go no further in even this modified detail. 

Having started my naturalist in this delightful 
palace of the sciences, I leave him to himself. He 
must pass alone, from chamber to chamber, down 
corridor after corridor, until he discovers that 
sleeping princess, Knowledge, who is never found 
unless we industriously seek for her. All I can do 
is to point out the difference between languidly 
strolling with vacant face between the glass walls 
of our great museums, and passing eagerly with 
intelligent interest from one casket of recognised 
treasures to another. 

The collection of natural objects in a home 
museum, however roughly and imperfectly carried 



OBJECT LESSONS IN MUSEUM MAKING. 223 

out, has at least this one great advantage, that it 
gives us the key to the mystery of museum-making 
and whatever may be the kind of treasures wc 
obtain from various sources, it will be a never- 
ending pleasure to classify and arrange them after 
the perfect model given us in the Cromwell Road 
collections. 





BOOKS OF FEATHERS. 



HAVE often thought that lovers of 
/^^if^il "^^^'""^ would like to be told of the 
. .' Si'cat interest there is in making a 
^M collection of birds' feathers grouped 

^ artistically on the pages of a large album. 
Possibly such books have often been made, but 
I have never seen any except my own, and they 
seem always to give pleasure to young and old, 
and form a useful resource on wet days or at odd 
times when friends are needing something to chat 
about for half an hour. I will therefore describe 




EAGLE OWL FEATHERS. 



BOOKS OF FEA J HERS. 227 

how simply they arc made, in the hope that others 
will share my pleasure and learn, as I have done, 
many most interesting facts about the lovely 
plumage of birds. 

The book should be a blank album of about 
fifty pages, eleven inches wide by sixteen, so as to 
make an upright page which will take in long tail 
feathers. Cartridge paper of various pale tints is 
best, as one can choose the ground that will best 
set off the colours of the feathers. Every other 
page may be white, and about three black sheets 
will be useful for swan, albatross and other white- 
plumaged birds. 

The only working tools required are sharp 
scissors and a razor, some very thick strong gum 
arabic, a little water and a duster in case of fingers 
becoming sticky. One needs a clear space on a 
large table which will not have to be disturbed, as 
we shall see presently that the feathers must be 
carefully sorted if the group is to have a good 
effect. 

Each page is to receive the feathers of only one 
bird ; then they are sure to harmonise, howe\cr 
you ma}^ combine them. Should any one wish to 



228 BOOKS OF FEA THERS. 

experiment on this point let him place a green 
parrot's feather on the wild duck page, or mix 
pheasant's and guinea fowl's plumage, and note the 
jarring result. One learns a lesson as to the ex- 
quisite harmony of tints in bird plumage which 
would teach many a fashionable lady how to com- 
bine colours to the best advantage. 

A common wood-pigeon is an easy bird to begin 
with, and readily obtained at any poulterer's. 
Draw out the tail feathers and place them quite 
flat in some paper till required ; do the same with 
the right wing and the left, keeping each separate 
and putting a mark on the papers that you may 
know which each contains ; the back, the breast, 
the fluffy feathers beneath — all should be neatly 
folded in paper and marked, and this can be done 
in the evening or at odd times, but placing the 
feathers on the pages ought to be daylight work 
that the colours may be studied. Now open the 
tail-feather packet, and with the razor carefully 
pare away the quill at the back of each feather ; 
this requires much practice, but at last it is quickly 
done and only the soft web is left which will be 
perfectly flat when gummed upon the page. When 




PEACOCK FEATHERS. 



BOOKS OF FEATHERS. 23 1^ 

all the packets are thus prepared (it is only the 
quill feathers that require the razor), then we may 
begin. 

I will describe a specimen page, but the arrange- 
ment can be varied endlessly, and therein lies one 
of the charms of the work. One never does two 
pages alike — there is such scope for taste and 
ingenuity — and it becomes at last a most fascinat- 
ing occupation. Towards the top of the page 
place a thin streak of gum, lay upon it a tail 
feather (the quill end downwards), and put one on 
either side. The best feathers of one wing may be 
put down, one after the other, till one has suffi- 
ciently covered the page, then the other wing- 
feathers may be placed down the other side ; the 
centre may be filled in with the fluffy feathers, and 
the bottom can be finished off with some breast 
feathers neatly placed so as to cover all quill ends. 
When one works with small plumage a wreath 
looks very pretty, or a curved spray beginning at 
the top with the very smallest feathers and gradu- 
ally increasing in size to the bottom of the page. 

Butterflies or moths made of tiny feathers add 
much to the effect, and they are made thus. Cut 



232 BOOKS OF FEA THERS. 

out the shape of the butterfly in note paper and 
cover both sides with thick gum. When quite dry, 
moisten one wing and lay the small feathers on, 
like tiles on a house roof, one over the other, in 
any pattern desired ; when the second wing is done 
lay a suitable feather along to form the body and 
let all become dry. Then moisten the gum on the 
under side and press the butterfly firmly on the 
page— the legs and antennae can be added very 
delicately with a pen afterwards. I made a butter- 
fly of the prismatic hues of the pigeon's neck, and 
placed it in the middle of the fluffy feathers of the 
pigeon page, where it looks charming. A small 
parrakeet may be shown in the act of flying if the 
page is large enough to take it in, but then great 
care must be taken to place the wing feathers as 
theyw^ould be in nature — the primaries, secondaries 
&c., in their right order, else the effect will be un- 
natural. The beak, eye, and legs must be painted 
on the page ; a drop of gum on the eye will give 
brightness, only it must be very thick and allowed 
to become quite dry before closing the page. It is 
best, I find, to fill a wide-mouthed bottle with dry 
gum, and just cover the gum with water, allow it 



BOOKS OF FEA THEKS. 233 

to melt, keep stirring and adding a few drops of 
water till just right — no bought liquid gum equals 
one's own preparation. In arranging a woodcock 
the two artist's feathers (one at the tip of each 
wing), should be specially shown ; they are small 
and very stiff, and are used in miniature painting. 
The tail should be reversed to show the lovely 
white satin tip to each feather — the only contrast 
nature has permitted to the exquisite russet browns 
of the rest of the plumage. To make the book 
complete there should be a careful water-colour 
study of the bird on the opposite page, its Latin 
and English name, and a drawing of the egg. 

It may interest some to know how I obtained 
the ninety-one birds which fill my books. Some 
were the dried skins of foreign birds either given 
me by kind friends or purchased at bird-stuffers. 
The woodpecker and nuthatch were picked up 
dead in the garden. The dove and budgerigars 
were moulted feathers saved up until there were 
sufficient to make a page. Years after the death 
of our favourite parrot I found his wings had been 
preserved, so they appear as a memento of an old 
friend who lived as a cheery presence in my child- 



234 BOOKS OF FEA THERS. 

hood's home for thirty }'cars. It is a pleasure to 
me to be able to say no bird was ever killed to 
ciirieh my books. The birds used for food, supply 
an immense variety of kinds, such as wild ducks, 
pheasants, partridges, and all the species of wild 
fowl that can be purchased throughout the winter 
and spring would keep one busily occupied. Some 
birds have come to me in odd ways : I bought a 
heron which was hanging at a poulterer's in an 
out-of-the-way street in London ; I picked up a 
fine white barn owl in a wood in Cornwall, a dead 
gull at Brighton, and a guillemot on the beach at 
Bournemouth, and a still rarer find, was a stormy 
petrel h'ing near it — a bird only met with there 
once in two or three years. 

It has often occurred to me that if sportsmen 
themselves could be induced thus to preserve the 
feathers of their victims they would be so struck 
with the beauty of their plumage, the adaptation of 
colour to the habitat of the bird, the winter changes 
of colour — as in the ptarmigan and others — that 
more thought would be given to these marvellous 
creatures, and in time a more tender feeling of pity 
might arise, and instead of the useless slaughter of 
uneatable birds which is so constantly going on, 



BOOKS OF FEATHERS. 235 

the sportsman might in time be changed into the 
kindly naturahst who would love to watch the 
living bird and learn its ways and curious instincts 
— surely a far higher and more noble use of time 
and energy than simply levelling the murderous 
gun at every living thing that ventures within 
reach. This it is which effectually prevents our 
fauna ever being enriched by rare birds settling 
and breeding in England. It is touching to think 
that the little foreigners arrive again and again, 
weary from their long journey across the sea, 
always to receive the same inhospitable treatment. 
If only others felt as strongly on this subject as I 
do they would be ashamed to appear in the news- 
papers as murderers of rare specimens. I earnestly 
wish each such notice could bringdown the severest 
censure on the so-called sportsm.en. As a member 
of the society I would urge Selbornians to have the 
courage to boldly express their opinions on this 
matter, we may thus be able to gradually create 
such a reaction that, instead of being pained by 
such tales of cruel slaughter as in the case of the 
gannet massacre, we may be gladdened by reading 
of rare birds, noticed, let alone, and breeding in 
various places. 




STUDYING INSECTS. 



t|Hj in the life histories of my sacred beetle, 



u'aW AVING found much that was interesting 




tegenaria, and earwig, I feel sure that 
many young people would like to 
'g'5^' try and keep insects as pets if only they 
knew Jiow to keep them, what to feed them 
with, and in what way to make them happy in 
confinement. My natural history studies can only 
be pursued in the intervals of an otherwise busy 
life, else, if time permitted, I should find the 
taming of insects a most fascinating occupation. 



STUDYING INSECTS. 237 

It only needs time and patience and a little 
knowledge of insect character to enable any one 
to win, first the attention, then the interest, and 
finally the affection of many of the curious 
creatures which abound in our fields and gardens. 

Sir John Lubbock's tame wasp is a curious 
instance of the power of kindness in developing- 
both confidence and intelligence, and the fol- 
lowing anecdote from Jesse's " Gleanings " shows 
the same result from feeding and tending house flies. 

" At the latter end of autumn, when flies were 
becoming almost helpless, a gentleman, wishing to 
try if they could be tamed, selected four from the 
breakfast table, put them upon a large handful of 
cotton wool, and placed it in one corner of the 
window nearest the fireplace. Not long after- 
wards the weather became so cold that all flies 
disappeared except these four, which constantly 
left their bed of cotton wool at his breakfast 
time, came and fed at the table, and then returned 
to their home. 

" This continued for a short time, when three of 
them became lifeless in their shelter, and only one 
came down. 



J238 STUDYING INSECTS. 

" This one the gentleman had trained to feed 
upon his thumb-nail by placing on it some moist 
;sugar mixed with a Httle butter. Although there 
had been at intervals several days of sharp frost, 
the fly never missed taking his daily meal in this 
way till after Christmas, when his kind preserver 
having invited a friend to dine and sleep at his 
house, the fly, the next morning, perched upon the 
thumb of the visitor who, being ignorant that it 
was a pet of his host's, accidently killed it, and 
thus put an end to the experiment." 

There are endless books on natural history most 
ably written by those who, having given long years 
of patient study to the subject in all its branches, 
are well qualified to give us information. From 
these boolcs we may learn about the structure, the 
habits, and the uses of living creatures of every 
kind, but as yet I have failed to light upon a 
work that supplies full and clear directions as to 
the best mode of studying insects in captivity, in 
what kind of cage or place they should be kept in 
order to preserve them in health, how each kind 
should be fed, and other particulars needful to their 
welfare. 



STUDYING INSECTS. 239 

Such a book would, I feel sure, be heartily 
welcomed by many intelligent young people who 
Avould find the greatest interest in keeping some of 
the curious insects they may obtain in the country. 
Until such a work appears, perhaps I may be 
permitted to supply a few notes on the subject 
from my own experience. 

My tame butterflies ^ were delightful pets, coming 
■on my finger for their daily drop of honey, and 
when I took them into the garden they would 
enjoy short flights to and fro, and yet they were 
quite willing to come on my hand and return to 
their cage. The chrysalids of these swallow-tail 
butterflies can be obtained from various naturalists 
in London and elsewhere, who will always supply 
lists of the pupae of such moths and butterflies 
-at they can obtain. The huge Japanese moths 
•can be obtained in this way. 

Their cocoons yield the material of which the 
lovely Japanese silks are made. They are grand 
insects, well worth keeping ; one of them, the great 
atlas moth, measures eight and a half inches across 
ihe wings. I happened to visit the insect house at 
' See " Wild Nature Won by Kindness," pp. 173-177- 



240 STUDYING INSECTS. 

the Zoological Gardens on a day when one of these 
magnificent moths was to be seen in its full beauty. 
It had only emerged from its chrysalis a short 
time before, so it had not brushed away a single 
scale from its wings. I was indeed fortunate to 
sec it thus, for after a night has passed, the insect 
loses its fresh beauty and mars its perfectncss by 
incessant fluttering up and down the sides of its 
prison house. 

When chrysalids of any kind are obtained they 
should be placed in a large tin box on some green 
leaves or moss, which may be changed every week 
to keep up a slight degree of dampness, else the skin 
of the chrysalis may become so hard and dry as to 
prevent the butterfly emerging. For this reason 
the box is best kept in a room without a fire. 
Some sticks should be placed upright in the box, 
as the butterfly requires something to crawl upon 
when first hatched, that its wings may be free to 
expand. It is very curious to see the feeble 
creature come out of its case and creep on to a 
twig ; there it hangs, and one may see the 
wings growing and becoming quite puckered as 
a liquid seems to go through the veins, enabling 



STUD YING INSECTS. 241 

them to expand to their full size. Then they 
become flat and even, and in an hour or two they 
dry, and are strong enough for flight, and the 
beautiful creature is ready to begin its aerial life. 
A piece of net should be tied over the box, else 
the insect may hatch out in the early morning and 
escape. These winged pets must be absolutely 
undisturbed until their wings are firm and strong, 
else, if touched, they will be crippled and never 
unfold properly. 

An insect house can easily be made by putting 
four upright pieces of wood at the corners of any 
ordinary box and arranging some mosquito net to 
cover them, leaving one side so that it can be 
opened when desired. 

A glass globe, or a propagating glass reversed 
may be adapted for the purpose. My own case is 
a more permanent one, and has proved extremely 
useful for a variety of purposes. It is a zinc box 
a foot square and three inches high ; an inch 
of perforated zinc above allows plenty of ventila- 
tion, and above the perforation are the glass sides, 
twelve inches by ten, fitted into four grooved 
uprights, so that any side can be slipped out or in 



242 STUDYING INSECTS. 

if required. From time to time this case has had 
various tenants — a mole, a field-mouse, dormice^ 
grasshoppers, &c. ; just now it has foreign chrysa- 
lids reposing on green moss, and when the insects 
hatch they will be conveniently seen through the 
glass sides. 

If the moths we hatch are to be specimens in a 
case, then before night they must be consigned ta 
a poison bottle, in which is cyanide of potassium,'! 
which will kill them in a moment or two, ready for 
setting on a sheet of cork. If, on the contrary, we 
wish to study the insects alive, our aim must be 
to feed and make them happy in captivity. When 
a drop of honey is held near a butterfly or moth it 
at once detects the scent of it and begins to uncoil 
its long proboscis and insert it in the sweet food. 
These insects have no mouth, but are provided 
with this long tube with which they suck honey 
from the flowers. When not in use the proboscis 
is coiled up into a wonderfully small space. 

By daily feeding, our winged pets soon become 
tame, and will readily come on the hand and 

' These poison bottles may be purchased from chemists 
or naturalists. 





WATEK INSECT-S. 



STUDYING INSECTS. 



24 J. 



be on friendly terms with their keepers. It is 
well to keep a little vase of flowers in the case- 
with the butterflies as they afford a resting- 
place for them, and the scent is congenial to their 
tastes. 

THE GREAT WATER BEETLE. 
{^Hydrous Piceits.) 

This insect can be obtained from any professional' 
naturalist, and will very soon become tame enough 
to take food from the hand. A pair (male and 
female) are best kept in a globe of water by 
themselves, with sand at the bottom and growing 
water-weed anchored to a stone. 

The natural food of these beetles appears to be 
vegetable, as they eat anacharis and other plants, 
but they also like small insects and will not refuse 
little morsels of raw meat. These, if not wholly 
consumed, must be removed with a small net, else 
they will corrupt the water. An allied species of 
water-beetle, kept by an American lady, was 
observed to seize a wasp and, taking it beneath 
the shelter of some weed, it cut off the wasp's. 



'246 STUDYING INSECTS. 

wings and legs, then sucked the juices of the 
head and thorax, and after turning them adrift 
it grasped the body and held the part that had 
been cut from the thorax to his mouth, drawing in 
the contents exactly as if drinking from a bottle. 

A curious provision is given to the female of this 
species of beetle, namely, a spinning apparatus in 
her tail, with which she constructs a round cocoon 
tapering up to a point like a glass retort. In this 
hest she places fifty or more eggs and fastens it to 
the stem of some water plant. In a few weeks' time 
the young larvK are hatched and appear as small 
grubs. Like the perfect beetles, they breathe through 
the tail, so they are compelled to rise frequently to 
the surface to take in air. The beetles carry air 
down with them when they dive, it may be seen 
like a silver bubble at the end of the wing cases. 

It would be interesting to watch the mother 
beetle making her cocoon, and possibly a pair of 
these insects, kept quietly by themselves in a globe, 
might be led to make their family nest. 

A similar but smaller water beetle, Dytisais 
Marginalis, has many points of interest. These 
creatures are great eaters, one having been known to 



STUDYING INSECTS. 247 

devour a small frog and several little fishes in the 
course of twenty-four hours. They can be kept 
and tamed, and will learn to know a signal and 
come to be fed with raw meat, like those previously 
described. The male of this beetle has a very 
curious pad on the first pair of legs. The surface 
of each pad is covered with suckers like those of 
the cuttle-fish, and by means of these the beetle 
can anchor itself beneath the water. The female 
may be known by the ridges on its wing cases. 
The dytiscus possesses a pair of fine gauzy wings 
beneath its elytra with which it can fly far and 
wide. I found a large specimen in the bird's 
rustic bath outside the dining-room. It had 
dropped into the shallow trough on its back and 
was spinning round and round quite unable to right 
itself. 

GROUND BEETLES. 

{Carabiis Violaceus.) 

These beetles may readily be found lurking 
under large stones or tree roots. They are long- 
lived and easily made so tame as to come for a 

IS 



248 STUDYING INSECTS. 

piece of scraped raw meat held to them at the end 
of a piece of stick. 

Thirteen British species are known. C. Violaceus 
is one of the commonest kinds. It is about an 
inch long, of a deep lovely violet colour with a 
tinge of green, and so polished as to look like 
burnished metal. Some garden mould, a few 
stones, and damp moss placed in a tin box will suit 
the beetle's requirements. It will need daily feed- 
ing, for the creature has a voracious appetite, and is 
therefore extremely useful in the garden, ridding 
us of many destructive insects. One species, 
C. Aiiratiis, which is plentiful in France, is most 
valuable to the farmer as it seeks out and eats the 
eggs of the cockchafer, thus preventing great 
damage which would otherwise be done to the 
crops by the grubs of that destructive insect. 

Some day I hope to obtain a specimen 
of BracJiimis Explodcns, better known as the 
bombardier beetle, so named because it posseses 
the remarkable power of ejecting a kind of fluid 
which explodes with a slight noise almost like a 
miniature gun. 

The bombardier resorts to this expedient as a 



STUDYING INSECTS. 249 

fneans of defence ; when pursued by a carabus it 
•discharges volatile fluid from the end of its body, 
and thus frightens his foe and compels him to give 
up the chase. I confess I should much like to see 
this explosion, but as the beetle is usually found 
on the banks of tidal rivers and under stones in 
very damp places I fear I am hardly likely to meet 
■with a specimen. 

I read in Wood's " Insects at Home," that " they 
are found in greatest numbers below Gravesend, 
and ten or twelve may sometimes be seen under a 
single stone, firing off their artillery when deprived 
of their shelter," 

THE ROSE BEETLE. 
{Cetonia Anrata.) 

This is one of the most attractive beetles to 
keep as a pet. It is often to be found in full- 
blown roses, also on carrot blossom and other 
umbelliferous plants, and one summer, many years 
ago, I caught hundreds of them on rhododendron 
flowers, which they w^ere utterly ruining by biting 
the petals into small fragments. 

I do not usually capture more than the specimen 



250 STUDYING INSECTS. 

insect I wish to study, but in this case it seemed 
needful to reduce the imnnense numbers of these 
insects, else the beauty of our garden would have 
been greatly interfered with. The beetles were 
killed instantly with boiling water, and their 
brilliant wing-cases were retained to form the 
banner-screen I have already described. 

This rose-chafer has been kept in captivity 
upwards of three years, being fed on fruit and 
moistened white bread. Some earth covered with 
moss, and a growing plant in a little pot for the 
beetle to climb about and rest upon, suits its 
needs. One might try experiments with this and 
other beetles as to what kind of food it preferred, 
and thus one's knowledge about their habits would 
be increased. I have not had time, personally, to 
watch and keep any beetles in captivity except the 
Egyptian scarab and water beetles, I can, therefore, 
only give general hints as their treatment, leaving 
young students to exercise their ingenuity in con- 
trivances for the welfare of other species. Nor am 
I writing a history of these insects, but simply 
suggesting a few of the commoner kinds which 
may be easily obtained for purposes of study or 
amusement. 




DIVING-BELL SPIDERS. 




STUDYING INSECTS. 
II. 

DIVING-BELL SPIDERS. 

(A rgyroiieta A quatica.) 

ADVISE young students to procure 
a pair of these most interesting crea- 
tures. They can easily be kept, even 
in a glass pickle-jar, if a globe is not 
attainable. Some washed sand and small 
gravel at the bottom of the jar, and a few 
stems of anacharis tied to a stone and anchored 
in the sand will form a suitable home. A piece of 
net should be tied over the top, else the spiders 

2S3 




254 STUDYING INSECTS. 

will possibly creep away, they being quite at home- 
on land as well as water. After a few hours, these 
curious creatures will spin a kind of cell of fine 
silk, either on the surface of the water or amongst 
the weed. They have the power of carrying down 
air, with which they fill the cell, making it look 
like a silver bubble, and within this fairy home the 
spider lives, coming out from time to time tO' 
obtain more air, or to seek for flies and other 
insects. 

The first pair I ever possessed came to me in 
the winter, and I was sorely exercised as to their 
diet. We had not seen flies for months, and a 
careful search through the greenhouses only 
yielded three gnats and a half- starved blue-bottle. 
The spiders did not seem to take to raw meat, 
though various writers spoke of it as suitable 
food for them. At last I thought of searching in 
the wine-cellar, and there, upon the walls, were 
thousands of gnats ; and as I found they were 
quite acceptable to the spiders, I felt relieved of 
the food difficulty. 

I cannot help wondering how those gnats exist, 
and what tJicy feed upon ; they were in good con- 



STUDYING INSECTS. 255 

dition, and though quiescent, they were not hiber- 
nating, for if touched they flew away. That the 
same insect should be able in some cases to gorge 
itself with human blood, and, in other circum- 
stances, live absolutely without food is one of 
the puzzles I am often coming across in the 
study of nature ; some day I may meet with a 
savant who may enlighten me upon the point. 

With a pocket lens one may see the bright eyes 
of the spider, and watch it when it rises to the top 
of the jar to take in fresh air. 

GNATS. 

When it is not practicable to obtain sea or 
fresh-water creatures as subjects for study, the 
larvae of the common gnat may usually be found 
in a garden water-butt, and easily kept, if desired, 
in any clear glass vessel filled with rain-water and 
placed on a window-ledge. 

Many interesting things can be related about 
them. If a child is shown a small gnat flying 
across the room, and is then told that these little 
"jerky " creatures in the glass will one day have 



256 STUDYING Ih SECTS. 

wings and fly about in the same way, the child is 
filled with wonder, and questions will follow quick 
and fast, which, it may be, wiser heads will be 
jjuzzled to answer. 

If we look on the surface of the rain-water tub, 
we shall probably see small grey masses of eggs, 
which have been laid there by the female gnat 
about July or August. These eggs seem glued 
together, and float on the water like little rafts. 
After a time the lower end of each egg falls out, 
and the tiny larvae drop into the water and begin 
the first stage of their life there. 

The little jerking atoms can easily be caught in 
a fine muslin net, and transferred to a glass jar or 
pan, where they may be watched daily increasing 
in size, and shedding their skins several times 
until they change into the pupa state. They now 
cat nothing, their bodies are curved instead of 
straight, the head much enlarged, and for the most 
part they rest quietly on the surface of the water, 
breathing through two little horns which project 
from the thorax. The larva;, on the contrary, 
kei p their heads downwards, as they breathe 
through an air-tube in the tail. The little pupae 



STUDYING lA'SECTS. 257 

can dive swiftly if alarmed ; but as they must 
have air, they return quickly to the surface. 

In about four weeks' time the skin of the pup^ 
cracks ; and if one is fortunate enough to be watch- 
ing at the right moment, it is very interesting to 
see the delicate feeble-looking gnat creeping out of 
its case, balancing itself on the edges of its former 
skin, until its wings are dry and fit for flight. 
Now is the critical moment in a gnat's life ; if a 
breath of air tilts the old skin on one side, and the 
gnat is thrown into the water, its wings become 
wet and useless, and it is sure to be drowned. 
The number of dead gnats to be seen in a water- 
butt shows that the first flight is very often unsuc- 
cessful. But if with dry wings, the gnat can take 
a spring into the air and leave its old cradle with- 
out accident, then its new life begins, and it only 
returns to the water once more to deposit its raft 
of eggs and perpetuate its species. A muslin 
cover should be kept over the jar, else the gnats 
may become very annoying tenants of our rooms. 

GRASSHOPPERS. 
There is a large green grasshopper which is 



258 STUD YING INSECTS. 

known as Acrida Viridissinia, a really beautiful 
creature, occasionally to be met with on the 
branches of trees. This I have found a tame- 
able pet ; but it is many years since I have kept 
a specimen, and though ordinary grasshoppers 
feed on grass, I cannot feel sure as to the 
diet of the larger species. If the branches of 
trees are searched towards the end of summer, 
this insect may probably be found. The best 
plan to obtain the grasshopper is to hold a large 
butterfly-net underneath, and give the branch a 
jerk or two, then whatever insects may be upon it 
will fall into the net. Grasshoppers and crickets 
of all kinds are desperate fighters, and must be 
kept singly if we would have perfect insects. I 
well remember my first experience with these 
creatures many years ago at Chamouni. 

It was a brilliant morning, and I was tempted 
to go part of the way up the Brevent, Passing^ 
through a little patch of ripening corn, I was. 
almost deafened with the noise of grasshoppers ; 
there seemed to be one on every blade of corn, 
and such monsters, too ! I brought back a couple 
of them, and placed them under a tumbler on the 



STUDYING INSECTS. 259. 

breakfast table. Whilst watching them, to my 
distress I saw one walk up to the other and calmly 
bite his leg off. Of course I separated them; but 
this savage conduct put an end to my project of 
filling a little cage with them to take home as live 
curios to be studied at leisure. I could only pre- 
serve them as dead specimens to add to my insect 
case. When properly set, their wings were four 
inches across, enabling them to fly like birds, 
which they really resembled at a little distance. 

At Avranches, in Normandy, I found bright red 
and blue grasshoppers, which flew very swiftly and 
made a loud clattering noise with their wing-cases 
when in flight. On alighting they instantly close 
up the bright-coloured gauzy wings under their 
brown wing-cases, so that they seem to disappear 
in a marvellous way, and unless you happen to 
mark exactly where they alight, it is almost 
impossible to catch them. 

A specimen of the migratory locust was picked 
up alive at Worthing years ago, and sent to me ; 
it lived about a week, eating grass very readily 
with its powerful jaws. It measured five inches 
across -its expanded wings, and the body was two 



-26o STUDYING INSECTS. 

inches long. One could well imagine the terril)le 
•devastation thousands of these insects would 
cause, and how quickly every green thing wou'd 
disappear before them. It Italy crickets are ke[)t 
in little cages, the people being partial to their 
chirruping note. Even there they only put one 
insect in each cage, as their maiming propensities 
are the same as grasshoppers'. 

For many years I vainly endeavoured to obtain 
live mole-crickets. From the drawings of them in 
books, they appeared most curious, and unlike any 
■other insect. At length a relative obtained some 
at Florence. About a dozen were brought in a 
pickle-bottle full of earth, in which they burrowed 
and, alas ! fought, until only three were left alive. 
These reached me safely, and were consigned to a 
large case, where I hoped they would live and let 
live, and perhaps increase in numbers. They are 
curious, unwieldy creatures, with horny paws, 
shaped and placed just like the fore feet of the 
mole, and they use them in the same way, diving 
down through the soil when alarmed. I managed to 
keep these crickets alive for several months, with a 
varied animal and vegetable diet, even sacrificing 



STUDYING INSECTS. 261 

a h)'acinth bulb now and then to give them an 
extra treat, as I had read that in Holland they 
are terrible plagues to the bulb growers, destroy- 
ing quantities of valuable gladiolus and other 
bulbs. 

Being subterranean dwellers, I could see but 
little of them ; they made burrows in the moss 
and earth, and scuttled about in the evening, ate 
their food, but would not grow tame or respond to 
my efforts to show them kindness. At length 
they appeared with maimed legs and evidences of 
warfare. Two were killed in battle ; and though 
the survivor lived for some weeks, he at last suc- 
cumbed to his injuries. The result of my ex- 
perience is, that only one specimen can be safely 
kept, and the most amenable of the various 
species is, I think, the large green grasshopper 
first mentioned, Italian fire-flies have sometimes 
been sent to me by post, and if kept in a globe 
and fed daily with honey and water, they will live 
for some weeks, and charm us with their exquisite 
intermittent flashes of lisfht. 



UNWIN BROTHERS, 
CHILWORTH AND LONDON. 



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